Shocking image which lays bare dire state of NHS: 22-year-old footballer with a ‘serious’ back injury was forced to wait FIVE HOURS for an ambulance while laying on floor under a blanket in torrential rain
- Ben Symons, from Cefn Cribwr, injured his back playing football on Saturday
- He was left waiting for an ambulance from 4.15pm to after 9pm in Cardiff
- His family slammed the ‘absolutely disgraceful’ ambulance waiting time
A 22-year-old man was left lying on the ground under a make-shift shelter made of blankets, jackets and an umbrella in the pouring rain while waiting five hours for an ambulance.
Ben Symons, from Bridgend, south Wales, was in agony after injuring his back while playing football and had to shelter from the weather.
Despite suffering a potentially ‘serious’ injury, he was told that paramedics would not arrive at the ground in Cardiff for up to eight hours.
While Mr Symons’s ‘very scary’ afternoon turned out not to be serious, it illustrates the dire state of the current NHS crisis.
Horrifying ambulance delays have seen patients wait more than 40 hours to be taken to hospital.
The scandal, which is affecting every region of the NHS, is being fuelled by the bed-blocking crisis, as 999 crews wait outside A&E for a free bed.
The health service is also under severe pressure from dwindling staff levels, with more than 105,000 vacancies.
Ben Symons, from Cefn Cribwr in Bridgend, south Wales, was left languishing on the ground under a blanket in the pouring rain for five hours waiting for an ambulance after injuring his back playing football
He suffered the potentially dangerous injury around 4.15pm but was not seen by paramedics (pictured) until after 9pm
Ambulances took an average of 47 minutes and 59 seconds to respond to category two calls , such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is more than twice as long as the 18 minute target
More than 7million people in England are now waiting for routine NHS ops such as hip and knee replacements, grim data revealed today.
Leading experts fear the ‘grim milestone’ — the equivalent of one in eight people — will only get topped as the pressures of winter, Covid and flu kick in.
The backlog is up from 6.8m last month and marks the highest total since NHS records began in 2007.
Almost 390,000 patients have been forced to endure year-long waits for their treatment, often while in serious pain.
Separate analysis by the BBC released suggests the NHS is carrying out fewer operations and treatments than before the pandemic, despite pledges to shrink the ever-growing list.
In the past year, an average of nearly 257,500 inpatient treatments, including hip and knee replacements, have been performed each month – roughly 12 per cent lower than the year before the pandemic.
Damning monthly performance stats from the NHS also revealed that more than 30,000 patients faced 12-hour waits in A&E — a record high.
Meanwhile, doctors on the frontline have claimed that patients have faced eight-hour waits for ambulances in parts of the country.
Mr Symons suffered the injury during a game Cefn Ribwr FC against Caerau Ely FC in the Ardal Southern League, an amateur and semi-professional football competition, at 4.15pm on Saturday.
Staff at the ground stayed with him and held his head up to support it while he laid on a spinal stretcher in pain.
Nearly five hours later, an ambulance arrived and he was taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he had scans and has now recovered.
Pictures showed him wrapped in foil to protect against hypothermia. A man also crouched over him holding an umbrella.
After finally receiving his own treatment, Mr Symons tweeted: ‘Very scary afternoon. Good news is I’m okay.
‘I’d like to thank [chairman Mark Rees] and Connor George from [Caerau Ely FC] for their assistance yesterday.
‘I can’t thank you enough and [Mark Galliers, his team’s first aider] for being there the whole time.’
But his family slammed his ‘absolutely disgraceful’ waiting time, adding the ‘system is broken’.
During the wait, his aunt Stephne Puddy said: ‘My nephew [is] on a spinal board with potential back/neck injury. Freezing cold.
‘Pouring with rain, been waiting five hours so far. Our system is broken.’
After the game, his brother Joe Symons said: ‘Absolutely disgraceful to still be waiting here! Serious neck and back injury to be told four to eight hours.’
Judith Bryce, assistant director of operations at the Welsh Ambulance Service said: ‘We apologise to Ben Symons and everyone affected by the long delay experienced.
‘This is certainly not the level of service we hope to provide.
‘When the call was received shortly after 4.15pm Saturday, October 15, all our Cardiff and Vale resources were committed and waiting outside Emergency Departments.
‘Prolonged handover delays are sadly a recurring issue that we continue to work on resolving in partnership with Welsh Government and Health Boards.
‘We are, however, pleased to see that Ben is well and wish him a speedy recovery.’
NHS ambulance data showed paramedics took just under 48 minutes on average to respond to category two emergencies in England last month.
Mr Symons (pictured) suffered the injury during a game Cefn Ribwr FC against Caerau Ely FC in the Ardal Southern League, an amateur and semi-professional football competition, at 4.15pm on Saturday
Pictures showed him wrapped up in make-shift shelter made of blankets, jackets. A man also crouched over him holding an umbrella
The category includes heart attacks and strokes. NHS teams are supposed to attend category two calls within 18 minutes, on average.
Health Secretary Therese Coffey has vowed to tackle the current crisis in the ambulance sector.
Ex-Health Secretary Steve Barclay, who was ousted in Liz Truss’s cabinet shake-up, also had the ambulance crisis at the top of his agenda.
Before he was ousted, he had pledged to use data to target the ‘small number of trusts’ that contributed to ‘almost half of ambulance handover delays’.
Handover delays outside hospitals are one of the biggest factors behind the NHS ambulance crisis, experts say.
Paramedic crews are expected to pass all patients over to emergency departments within 15 minutes of arriving at hospital.
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