Apology after 17 ambulances queue for Portsmouth's emergency department

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HEALTH bosses have apologised to patients for delays which left up to 17 ambulances queuing at the city’s emergency department.

Vehicles from South Central Ambulance Service were left waiting at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham today due to a ‘full hospital’.

John Knighton, medical director at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘We have experienced a very busy period in recent days, during which more patients than we would usually expect at this time of year have attended our emergency department. We have also seen a high number of emergency admissions in the past few days, relative to the number of patients discharged, leading to a full hospital.

READ MORE: South Central Ambulance Service spends £3.6m transporting patients to hospital in taxis

‘This has unfortunately led to some patients waiting longer than we would have liked. I apologise to any patient who has had to wait longer than usual.

‘Our priority is always the care and safety of our patients, and everyone who arrives at the ED is assessed and prioritised according to clinical need. We are working with all of our health and care partners across Portsmouth and south east Hampshire to ensure we are able to meet the needs of patients in all areas of the system, and that we are seeing patients who attend ED as quickly as possible.’

It isn’t the first time there have been queues of ambulances waiting at the hospital. In October last year 13 vehicles were left waiting and one ambulance driver, caught up in the delays, claimed to have waited 90 minutes in queues and said the emergency department was ‘in chaos’ when they arrived.

READ MORE: QA Hospital patient left nurse with cut lip and bruises after violent attack during treatment

In 2017 delays were reportedly so bad that 23 ambulances were stuck in queues, with patients having to wait up to five hours for treatment.

And in 2016, patients were forced to wait seven hours after ‘extremely high demand’ left more than half of the ambulances in east Hampshire queuing outside QA, South Central Ambulance Service said at the time.