UNDER-PRESSURE ambulance chiefs have revealed a crew had to wait with a patient for nearly 14 hours outside Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) confirmed one of its vehicles was stationary at the Royal on Monday (April 4) for 13 hours, 50 minutes and 29 seconds before crews were able to hand over their patient.
Some ambulances also had to be diverted to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, which is also part of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
The service lost a staggering 267 hours, 18 minutes and 50 seconds outside the Royal and the Alex on Monday alone – the equivalent of losing 22 ambulances for the day.
Despite the target time for a handover of patient being 15 minutes, the current average time at the Royal is three hours and 12 minutes while at the Alex it’s 49 minutes.
According to WMAS, just 20.5 per cent of patient handovers are being completed within 15 minutes at the Royal, rising to 53.2 per cent at the Alex.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “The whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure and unfortunately, hospital handover delays mean some patients are waiting far longer for an ambulance to come to them than we would want.
“We continue to work with local partners to find ways to reduce the delays so that our crews can respond more quickly.
“All patients continue to receive clinical care until they are handed over.”
In response, Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our teams are working incredibly hard to deal with the continuing very serious challenges the Covid pandemic is creating.
“At the same time, we are caring for unprecedented numbers of patients in need of our urgent and emergency care services, which includes patients making their own way into our Emergency Department as well as those being brought in by ambulance.
“Despite our best efforts, we are sometimes seeing ambulances waiting outside our hospitals for longer than we would like.
“Our new 29-bed unit on the first floor of the oncology unit at Worcestershire Royal Hospital will create some much-needed extra urgent care capacity when it opens in April, and we continue to work closely with WMAS colleagues and our partners in the local health and care system to explore all possible ways of safely reducing waiting times and improving ambulance handovers.”