Waiting for Eternity

An hour doesn’t seem like a long time really. If you are watching a TV programme or going for a stroll, it’s nothing. But when you are sitting on a cold concrete floor, holding the hand of a little boy who is in agony from stomach pains and trying to reassure him that everything will be ok and the ambulance will be coming soon, it seems like a lifetime. The sad thing is, it’s not the first time it has happened. When I am on patrol, I am often the first member of the emergency services to come across a medical incident because I either witness it, or am led to it by a member of the public. Of the incidents I have been involved with (dozens to date..I have lost track) on only two or three occasions have the paramedics arrived within half an hour. I have nothing but praise for the ambulance personnel themselves. They have no control over the calls they are sent to or the number of units that are available. What is disgraceful is the lack of funding that causes these delays (made worse by idiots making fake 999 calls or phoning for an ambulance because they have chipped a fingernail). While I was waiting with the little boy, I was told three times over the radio that the ambulance was on its way, only to also be told three times that it had diverted to another ‘more urgent call’. What kind of world do we live in, when a thirteen-year-old boy, lying on the ground with agonising stomach pains for almost an hour isn’t considered ‘urgent’.
At least the outcome wasn’t as tragic as this story.

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