Russells Hall Hospital pledge on ambulance logjam
Hospital bosses say they are still working to reduce ambulance handover times at Russells Hall Hospital’s emergency department.
It comes after figures revealed that352 patients had to wait longer than half an hour to be seen after arriving at the Dudley hospital’s A&E in August.
New figures also show that 26 patients were waiting more than 60 minutes.
Patients arriving in ambulances are immediately triaged, but then wait for a space in the main A&E department, which is what the handover figures refer to.
Bosses at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust revealed in July that they would be introducing a zero tolerance policy on ambulance handovers and said they would be working with West Midlands Ambulance Trust to address the issue.
The figures for August who an improvement on the month before, when 41 patients had to wait more than an hour for a handover. But the situation continues to hold up ambulances, preventing them attending further emergency calls.
Karen Kelly, chief operating officer for the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said it was working towards the zero tolerance but said “there is still more to do”.
Ms Kelly said: “Our emergency department is an extremely busy department seeing 14,569 patients in August.
“We are pleased that we have reduced the number of patients waiting 60 plus minutes by 37 per cent compared to the previous month.
“All patients are triaged on arrival, however they may then wait for space in the main department and it is this which the ambulance handover figures refer to.
“We have improved our triaging and have developed various streams for patients such as those experiencing chest pains who are seen in our cardiac assessment unit, which has recently won a national initiative of the year award.
“We also have rapid assessment bays and have moved our frailty assessment area next to our emergency department to improve care for these patients who often have complex needs. These new ways of working ensure patients are seen by the right clinicians as early as possible.
“We are working towards zero tolerance, but there is still more to do, particularly at those periods of the day when we see considerable numbers of patients arrive which outstrips our capacity. We continue to work with our partners in healthcare with initiatives such as ambulances redirected at busy periods. This is in its early days and is currently only seeing a reduction in approximately one ambulance per hour.”
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