A NEW BBC season of ‘Ambulance’ has featured two incidents from South Cumbria and north Lancashire.

Series 11: Episode One detailed the most widespread industrial action for a generation and how this affected ambulance crews at the time across the country.

On the night a woman died near Kendal, there were 30 per cent fewer ambulances than normal across 3,800 sq miles between Cumbria and Lancashire because of the strike action.

Staff were striking over pay, working conditions and their concerns for patient safety.

At the time of the call, ambulances were only being deployed to category one and two calls – the most life-threatening because of limited resources.

The Westmorland Gazette:

The Westmorland Gazette:

The Westmorland Gazette:

The programme played the audio of a man who rang 999 after a woman had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Unsure on what to do, the call handler guided the individual on how best to provide support until a specialist paramedic and community responder arrived.

The closest ambulance crew were 19 minutes' drive away on the Kendal picket line.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Despite the call handler’s best efforts of stressing the importance of getting the individual to lie the woman on her back, she sadly couldn’t be resuscitated when the crew eventually arrived.

A different call handler said: “We don’t want to strike. Nobody wants to put their patients at risk. There are so many patients, but not enough crews or staff.”

In response, a dispatcher on shift that evening said: “The reason people are striking is to expose stuff like this which is happening every single day. At what point do we take that leap and say something needs to change.”

Later in the episode, on another day when it was 11 hours until the next industrial action, an ambulance crew was dispatched to a category three job in Carnforth.

A 25-year-old boy called Luke was visibly in a lot of pain having recently been diagnosed as a gallbladder patient.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Paramedics administered him anti-sickness and pain relief before taking him to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary for an emergency scan.

At the end of the programme, we learnt that Luke underwent tests and is still waiting to have his gallbladder removed.