Ambulances stuck waiting in hospital car parks as figures reveal A&E pressure

More than half of patients taken to hospital in an ambulance last week faced handover delays of more than 30 minutes in parts of the West Midlands, new figures show.

Ambulances waiting outside New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton on Friday. At one point there were 19 ambulances waiting.
Ambulances waiting outside New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton on Friday. At one point there were 19 ambulances waiting.

The NHS data gives a snapshot of the pressure hospitals in the region are facing heading into the Christmas period.

Last week, 63 per cent of patients taken to the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal hospitals, run by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, waited more than 30 minutes to be handed over by ambulance crews.

It was the highest proportion in the region, followed by 51 cent at University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, 38 per cent at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust.

The figure was 37 per cent at Royal Wolverhampton Trust which runs New Cross Hospital where 19 ambulances were parked up waiting to handover patients on Friday.

Walsall Healthcare Trust, which runs Walsall Manor Hospital, performed the best in the region, with just six per cent of patients waiting longer than half-an-hour.

The average in England was 23 per cent.

Figures from across the West Midlands

National guidance states that paramedics should be able to hand patients over to A&E staff within 15 minutes of arriving at hospital.

NHS figures also show that between 20 and 48 per cent of patients attending A&E at hospitals in the region waited longer than four hours in November – the average for England was 26 per cent.

Nearly half the patients who attended the emergency departments run by University Hospitals Birmingham Trust faced waits of more than four hours.

The figure at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was 43 per cent; University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust – 35 per cent; Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust – 29 per cent; Sandwell & West Birmingham Trust – 26 per cent and Walsall Healthcare Trust – 23 per cent.

One in five patients waited longer than four hours at Royal Wolverhampton Trust and it was 21 per cent at Dudley Group Trust.

Across England, 32 per cent of patients on average were without a bed on a ward within four hours of admission last month.

But the figure was higher in many parts of the West Midlands.

It was 83 per cent at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, followed by 50 per cent at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust and 43 per cent at Dudley Group Trust.

Walsall Healthcare Trust and Royal Wolverhampton Trust were the only two trusts where the figure was lower than the national average, at 30 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.

Figures show one in 10 patients arriving by ambulance at hospitals in England last week waited more than an hour to be handed over to A&E departments.

Some 8,211 delays of more than 60 minutes were recorded across all acute trusts in the seven days to December 5, according to NHS England.

This was 10 per cent of the 83,903 arrivals by ambulance.

A further 11,155 patients (13 per cent) waited between 30 and 60 minutes to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff.

This means nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of all arrivals were kept waiting at least half-an-hour.

A handover delay does not always mean a patient has waited in the ambulance. They may have been moved into an A&E department, but staff were not available to complete the handover.

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