Ambulance service delays nearly double in a year

Posted By admin - 3rd January 2020

The BBC has recently reported that delays in the East Midlands Ambulance Service have significantly increased. Figures from the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) show that delays transferring patients from an ambulance to hospital have nearly doubled for one hospital Trust; a rise in delays from 4,663 to 9,219 hours was recorded, the equivalent of nearly 770 paramedic shifts.

The Trust has faced years of criticism over response times, and was told by the Care Quality Commission in 2017 that changes were needed and that its “emergency and urgent care services were no longer rated as inadequate for safety”.

It seemed some improvements had been made this year, as EMAS received a rating of ‘good’ from the Care Quality Commission in the summer. However, Leicester Royal Infirmary, the region’s busiest A&E centre, saw delays almost triple over the year.

Furthermore, the Trust is failing to meet its targets for handovers of patients from an ambulance to hospital. The target for the handovers is 15 minutes, which includes a verbal briefing and the transfer of paper and electronic records. A briefing to the EMAS board revealed that nearly 2,400 patients waited one to two hours, more than 700 waited two to four hours and 30 waited more than four hours for handover.

Rebecca Browne, Chief Operating Officer at Leicester’s Hospitals, pointed to a surge in complex cases as reasons behind these delays. She stated they were working to ensure patients were “cared for and treated safely despite these challenging circumstances”. She added that the hospitals are determined to reduce handover times, and “are focused on trialling new ways of working together to ensure ambulances get back on the road as quickly as possible”.

The Director of Operations at EMAS, Ben Holdaway, stated that, “neither us nor the hospital want this, and so we are doing everything in our power to improve the situation for our patients”.

Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in clinical negligence law.  If you believe that you or a family member have been a victim of negligence or have suffered a delay in diagnosis receiving emergency medical treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0116 254 7456 to discuss your concerns.