Ambulances still queueing at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth

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HUNDREDS of patients are being left waiting in the back of ambulances as pressure on QA’s casualty department is not lifting.

Figures from NHS England reveal that between January 12 and March 8 this year, 1,005 ambulances were held up for more than 15 minutes at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

This compares to just 82 in the same period at Southampton General Hospital.

The goverment target is for anyone brought into A&E as an emergency to be transferred from the ambulance to the hospital within 15 minutes.

The delays are linked to A&E target times which say 95 per cent of patients should be seen, treated or discharged within four hours.

In the week ending March 8, on this measurement QA managed 88.4 per cent with the national average at 89 per cent.

This is an improvement on the previous week when the figure stood at 73.3 per cent.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, said it works closely with South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) to minimise delays.

A spokesman said: ‘We are delighted that in the last few weeks we have seen a significant reduction in waits, which importantly improves the patient experience.

‘We are also pleased that our A&E performance has also improved with nearly nine in 10 patients now admitted, treated and discharged within four hours.’

Scas said there have been improvements on waiting times.

A spokesman for Scas said: ‘It’s really important we work in partnership with the hospitals in our area to ensure we are able to effectively hand our patients over.

‘Over the past two weeks we have experienced a marked improvement in hospital handovers at QA, with 75 per cent of patients being handed over to the hospital staff within 15 minutes of arrival compared to 42 per cent at the start of February.’

Both providers get their money from Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which are GP-led organisations.

Dr Jim Hogan, lead of the Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘The period in question includes some weeks where the NHS was under a huge degree of pressure, with high levels of flu and respiratory illness among elderly people in particular.

‘That pressure was felt across the board, but most visible at A&E and with the ambulance service.’