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Handover Delays At East Of England Ambulance Trust 'Intolerable'

Equivalent Of 100 12-Hour Shifts Lost By Ambulance Crews Through Delays


The delays in ambulances passing patients onto hospital staff have now reached “intolerable” levels, according to the head of the East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST).

Local media reports indicated that two patient deaths in December were linked to hospital delays and are under investigation.

Anthony Marsh, head of the EEAST, revealed that the week between Christmas and New Year saw ambulance staff waiting outside hospitals to drop patients off for the equivalent of 100 12-hour shifts.

The report, which was presented to the ambulance board this week, revealed that the longest delays were experienced at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with ambulance crews waiting more than 30 minutes to drop off patients on 436 occasions.

Ambulance crews have a target of 15 minutes to drop off patients and are allocated a further 15 minutes to ready their vehicle for the next emergency call.

Expert Opinion
It is extremely concerning to hear reports of ambulance staff losing time due to delays in dropping off patients at hospitals in the region, particularly as the report suggests two deaths may have occurred as a result.

“The problems that the regional ambulance service and accident and emergency departments have faced across East Anglia in recent months are well documented. There needs to be a thorough investigation conducted into these deaths and the wider issue of delays ambulance crews are facing in the East of England so that patient safety is not compromised and those who require emergency treatment are admitted to hospitals quickly.”
Guy Forster, Partner

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