Portsmouth's Queen Alexandra Hospital patients see more than 250 hour-long ambulance handover delays

QUEEN Alexandra Hospital is seeing some of the worst ambulance handover delays in England as Covid pressures increase.

By Richard Lemmer
Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 2:58 pm

A total of 254 patients waited more than 60 minutes to be transferred from ambulance teams to A&E staff in the week to January 10, NHS England has revealed.

It is the second highest number of hour-plus delays across England, with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust reporting the highest number with 291 delays.

Patients were not always left waiting inside an ambulance, as the figures include those moved into an A&E department where staff were not available to complete the handover.

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Ambulances parked up outside the Accident and Emergency department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth on December 29, 2020.Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Across the country, 5,513 people waited more than an hour to be transferred from paramedics to hospital staff.

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It is the highest weekly figure so far this winter, up slightly from 5,318 delays in the previous week.

A further 9,267 patients waited between 30 and 60 minutes for a hand over to take place.

NHS England data also shows 36,499 patients were waiting for treatment at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS University Trust as of the end of November. In all 4.46m people are waiting for treatment in England.

It comes as the Royal College of Surgeons said Covid is having a 'calamitous impact' on treatment. Of those waiting for treatment at QA Hospital, 4,363 were waiting for general surgery.

This weekend, health secretary Matt Hancock said ‘the pressure on the NHS is very, very bad’ as a result of coronavirus.

Addressing concerns about hospital capacity, he said: ‘The single biggest thing that anybody can do is to follow the stay at home guidance.’

It comes as QA hospital, which has more than 1,000 beds, is dealing with nearly twice the number of Covid-19 patients than the first wave’s peak, caring for a total of 457 Covid-19 patients as of last week. New Covid figures are expected today.

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust has been approached for comment.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increase in demand for our 999 service but we’re managing well, and if handover delays occur we work with our local partners to resolve these as quickly as possible and minimise the impact for any patients.

‘We ask for the public to help us by only calling 999 if you, or someone you are with, is suffering a life-threatening or serious emergency, and to use NHS 111 or local urgent treatment centres for all other medical concerns.’

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