Patients suffering significant harm as a result of lengthy A&E wait times and ambulance handover delays

Posted By Kirsty Dakin - 5th November 2021

The BBC has reported that there are issues with regard to A&E wait times and ambulance handover delays, which is causing patients significant harm. We are concerned to see so many stories recently regarding the amount of time patients are having to wait in A&E before they are seen and receive treatment, and how long some patients are waiting in an ambulance before they are taken into hospital.

It has been reported that a quarter of patients waited in A&E for over 4 hours for treatment in September 2021, despite the four-hour target in emergency departments, which was introduced in England in 2004. Indeed A&E performance in England is reported to be at its worst since 2004. Ambulance handover delays are also at their highest level for the first time in history

It was also reported that patients who attended A&E and required admitting onto a ward faced record-long waits for a bed, and that these patients tended to be the most seriously-ill and frail. Dr Katherine Henderson of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine has stated that emergency departments are dangerously overcrowded and warned of a crisis this winter.

Lack of access to GPs has been given as one reason for the growing pressure on the NHS. A £250m funding plan for GPs aims to help the NHS through this winter.

We have previously highlighted the case involving a patient who sadly died in an ambulance outside Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridgeshire, as the hospital described that they were having an extremely busy night.  On 4 October 2021, another patient sadly died after waiting for more than five hours in the back of an ambulance in Worcestershire. Mark Docherty, director of nursing and clinical commissioning, stated that the situation was completely unacceptable. He acknowledged that patients were coming to harm as a result of the delays.

With winter upon us we very much hope we will not be seeing more cases of patient suffering as a result of A&E wait times and handover delays.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed due to delays in medical treatment, or you believe that a loved one has lost their life due to a delay in medical treatment, and you wish to speak to us about a potential claim, then please do not hesitate to call us on 0116 254 7456, for a no obligation discussion.