Families desperately take their loved ones to A&E in their own cars

As striking NHS workers brought ambulances across the UK to a standstill – apart from in the most urgent and life threatening cases – families were seen bringing their unwell relatives to hospital in cars.

In Brighton, a four wheel drive car was seen pulling up outside the A&E entrance of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, before nurses carried someone from the back of the car into the hospital.

Soldiers were also spotted helping to move patients whilst covering for staff who had joined the walkouts.

People living in England were warned to only call 999 in life-threatening situations and that they should avoid doing anything deemed to be too “risky,” such as getting “blind drunk.”

Unions said that staff would respond to category one cases – such as heart attacks – but that category two cases – including strokes – would be triaged before a decision was made on whether or not to send an ambulance.

Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said that England’s emergency healthcare system had been under “immense pressure” for the last three years.

He said this included the “worst” wait times “ever seen” for patients being handed over to A&E.

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “Trying to work out the effect of industrial action compared to a system which is already not doing what we want it to do is going to be difficult.”

Ambulances outside St Thomas’ Hospital, central London.


He added that A&E departments were expecting people to turn up in different ways during the ambulance strike, adding: “We’re expecting people with strokes and heart attacks to turn up at the front door.”

“Now, because of the delays this has already been happening quite a lot anyway.”

Dr Boyle suggested that getting a lift to hospital was the “best alternative to calling an ambulance” whilst the strikes were ongoing.

“It is the best alternative to calling an ambulance,” he explained.

Ambulances are seen parked outside of Aintree University Hospital on December 20, 2022 in Liverpool.

(Getty Images)

“If you think you can get to hospital in a way that appears safe and efficient, with somebody giving you a lift, that might be a more appropriate thing to do.”

He went on to add that “hospitals are full to bursting” and said that some people would be waiting a long time in A&E.

The news comes as a dispute erupted between Health Secretary Steve Barclay and union leaders over today’s ambulance strikes, with each group saying that it would be the fault of the other if patients were to die.

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