80 patients a day forced to wait an hour or more outside A&E: Number of patients waiting in ambulances for more than 30 minutes up a fifth in a year

  • One person in the east of England delayed by 5hrs and 51mins
  • Quarter of million patients trapped in ambulances in the past year
  • Delays meant hospitals paid out £44million in NHS fines

By Daily Mail Reporter

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Eighty patients every day are forced to wait outside A&E in ambulances for an hour or more, figures show.

One person in the east of England was delayed by five hours and 51 minutes, and another in the East Midlands waited four hours and 37 minutes for emergency care.

Separate data reveals that nearly a quarter of a million patients were trapped in ambulances for at least half an hour in the past year, a rise of a fifth on the year before. Delays meant hospitals paid out £44million in NHS fines over the year.

(File picture) A London Ambulance outside Whittington Hospital Accident and Emergency department

(File picture) A London Ambulance outside Whittington Hospital Accident and Emergency department

And in the last six months, 14,721 patients waited in ambulances for at least an hour – more than 80 a day, figures obtained by Labour show.

Crucially, the delays mean ambulances and crews are unable to attend to other 999 calls.

And patients – mostly the frail elderly – face a long wait to be referred for the best care.

 

Labour's health spokesman Andy Burnham said it was evidence of a deepening crisis in A&E. As many as two-thirds of casualty departments do not have enough doctors.

Mr Burnham said: 'Thousands of frail older people are being wrongly held in the backs of ambulances outside A&E because hospitals are full to bursting. And yet David Cameron and his ministers deny that A&E is in crisis.

Labour's health spokesman Andy Burnham said the figures were evidence of a deepening crisis in A&E

Labour's health spokesman Andy Burnham said the figures were evidence of a deepening crisis in A&E;

'Hospitals need this money to put staff on the wards – they shouldn't be wasting millions on fines. A&E departments are in danger of being overwhelmed and this is before the worst of the winter pressure has even started.'

Casualty units are typically quieter over the festive period as fewer patients are referred. But next week there may be a surge in admissions when GPs and care programmes open as normal.

Since April, hospital trusts have been fined £200 every time a patient waits in an ambulance for 30 minutes, or £1,000 if they wait longer than an hour.

The figures from Labour show hospitals paid out more than £24million in the six months to October. Assuming the delays continue, they will have paid £48million by the end of 12 months, with the money going to ambulance trusts.

A Department of Health spokesman said: 'A handful of services experienced problems and the system of fines is in place to ensure patients get the care and quick response they deserve.'

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Torys running the country well...

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All the more reason why one shouldnt fall or get ill in this country!! Have to wait hours just to be seen. Scary is an understatement

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You open the floodgates and let the whole world come for the "free NHS", why would you expect anything different?

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TOO MANY PEOPLE !!!!!!!

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Too many people in this country is not helping any of our services, plus the ones that come over and get the free NHS then leave without paying. Now you have all the party goers and drunks clogging it up too.

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Maybe use your common sense instead of just pedalling propganda. The NHS is a state funded free health system for all who want/need it.. in a country of over 60million people..of course their will be shortfalls and If you don't like it, go private

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Well known quote , You can trust me with the NHS . In three years the waiting times from my local surgery has gone from two days to two weeks , blood tests 7 weeks , Local hospital , the only thing they organize is the car parking , twice last year it had notices saying enter only if you have to , because of hospital bug .

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Wait till the dossers get here be a fortnight

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Cannot expect anything else with the Nasty party in charge!

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Having worked for one of the ambulance services mentioned in this report, and ridden along with ambulance crews I can say that these figures are likely based on inaccurate information. Every single time we visited a hospital the patient was dropped off within minutes, yet the crew then return to their vehicle for a cup of tea and wait for the other ambulances to leave before 'calling clear', entering a false reason for the delay on their computer, usually 'A&E; Delay'. Every single crew does this, which of course will skew the figures to make the hospitals look worse. The problem here is the unionised mentality of the ambulance crews, and until that is rectified nothing will change.

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Wow. Not surprised. But why cant the figures be tallied with the time of receipt of the patient in the casualty department? Surely that is on a seperate system somewhere? And if the two times dont add up then if I wa in charge I'd be wanting to know why.

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