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Emergency patients face long queues

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

According to new research, patients have to wait in ambulance queues outside of A&E for hours before being seen by a doctor. Last year more than 300,000 ambulances were forced to queue outside of hospitals in England with patients inside. With a national waiting time target of 15 minutes, one patient waited for more than eight hours in an ambulance before being seen by a doctor.

The Department of Health agreed that these long waits were “unacceptable”, but said that there had been great improvements this year. They said that handover delays are generally caused by emergency departments being too busy to safely accept new patients.

Delays fallen by 30%

Labour obtained the information under a Freedom of Information request. They looked into all of the ambulance trusts across England and found that each one had instances of patients waiting for more than one hour outside of A&E. A total of 279,207 ambulances were delayed for over 30 minutes, and an additional 30,601 waited for more than one hour. The longest recorded wait was from the West Midlands whereby one patient waited for 8 hours and 11 minutes.

NHS England stressed that great improvements have been made. They said that delays over the winter period, which is generally the busiest time for A&E departments, had fallen by 30% between 2012-13 and 2013-14.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are providing extra support, including £28m for ambulances from funds already given to the NHS this year, to keep services sustainable year-round.

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