Hospital is ‘worst in UK’ over ambulance waiting times

BUSY NHS emergency ambulances outside the Accident & Emergency Department entrance to Queen Alexandra Hospital at Cosham, Portsmouth.
BUSY NHS emergency ambulances outside the Accident & Emergency Department entrance to Queen Alexandra Hospital at Cosham, Portsmouth.
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QUEEN Alexandra Hospital in Cosham has topped a table for the most delay in getting patients out of ambulances and into A&E.

As previously reported in The News, from April 2009, to March 2012, £685,849 was paid to South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) after paramedics were held up.

The fine stands at £2.44 for every minute an ambulance is delayed. Over the three years, this adds up to 195 days of hold-ups for paramedics.

The rule is that patients arriving at hospital in an emergency ambulance should be transferred into A&E within 15 minutes of arriving.

At the QA, in one case, ambulance staff were left waiting for more than three hours before the patient was finally admitted.

Despite warnings issued by Scas ahead of the notoriously busy Christmas period, Queen Alexandra wracked up 553 hours of delays in December alone, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

‘We have unprecedented demand at the front door,’ said Dr Simon Mullet, a senior manager at the A&E department.

‘Sometimes we can have six ambulances arrive in 10 minutes, and under those circumstances we struggle to keep up and that’s the major problem.

‘The demand has gone up, the system is struggling.

‘Internally we’re having additional nurses at the front door to try and take over. Within the system we’re doing everything we can to try and minimise waits.

‘There’s a serious issue in the NHS with the demand for emergency services. Really, really big.

‘I think some serious investment is required at the front door.’