Hundreds of patients left waiting in ambulances outside Walsall Manor Hospital
The number of patients forced to wait in ambulances outside Walsall’s hospital has risen again – for the third month in a row.
New figures show that 296 ambulances spent longer than longer than half-an-hour outside Walsall Manor in January – up from 281 in December.
In November 130 patients were left waiting for more than 30 minutes.
The figures also reveal there were 37 ambulances delayed outside the hospital for more than one hour in January – up from 35 in December and eight in November.
National guidelines state patients should be handed over from the care of paramedics to hospital staff in under 15 minutes.
Councillor Ian Robertson, Walsall Council’s health chief, said: “There needs to be an expanded A&E at the hospital – the rebuild of the A&E is on the cards and hopefully that will improve things.
“It is unacceptable to be waiting around in an ambulance and a lot have to wait before they are even seen.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service had its busiest day in history this week – with more than 5,000 999 calls – and spokesman Jamie Arrowsmith said: “Unfortunately, at times of peak demand, delays do occur at some hospitals.
“We continue to work closely with all hospitals in the region to tackle such issues and operates a number of measures to help ensure ambulances are able to offload patients as quickly as possible.”
Philip Thomas-Hands, chief operating officer at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We always aim to see and treat patients attending our emergency department as quickly as possible and provide them with the safe, high-quality care.
“Like most Trusts across the country, we have been finding this a challenge over the winter period due to the flow of patients in and out of the hospital and large numbers of admissions; particularly those who are elderly and with complex and chronic conditions.”