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40,000 hours of ambulance delays

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

The Welsh Ambulance Service believes that patients could be at risk due to a five-fold increase in delays faced by ambulance crews outside of hospitals. Figures revealed that around 40,000 hours were “lost” in 2014 because of “handover delays” – a worrying increase from the 8,000 hours lost in 2008. The report highlighted a number of problem factors contributing to the issue, yet the ambulance service’s chairman said that these “long-standing and complex problems” were now being tackled.

Any wait in an ambulance outside of a hospital longer than 15 minutes is recorded as a handover delay, an issue generally caused when emergency unit beds are full. The ambulance service said that delays of this nature not only present “risks to patients waiting in vehicles” but are “arguably a greater risk” to patients “in the community”. This is due to the fact that ambulance crews are then tied up outside A&E, unable to respond to other urgent calls.

“I think our plans will deliver”

Research carried out by the BBC found that the ambulance service in Wales, during a four-month period last autumn, faced longer delays than anywhere else in the UK. In the four-month window between August and November, the Welsh Ambulance Service reported the longest “average handover time” for 13 weeks of the 16-week period. In 10 weeks of the 16, the Welsh Ambulance Service also recorded the single longest delay of all 11 ambulance services that were involved.

Ambulance service chairman Mick Giannasi said: “We accept progress is slow, but we passionately believe now that I think our plans will deliver”.

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