HEALTH chiefs have apologised for delays which left up to 13 ambulances queuing outside the emergency department of Queen Alexandra Hospital.
The vehicles were spotted earlier today but Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the site, said there were little delays.
Queuing ambulances were spotted late last night, at around 10pm, and again at 11am today. The number of vehicles waiting varied between seven and 13.
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.
A surge in people seeking treatment has been blamed for the delays, which have piled pressure on hospital staff.
Leaders have now urged people to visit walk-in clinics for minor injuries and illnesses in a bid to relieve stress on doctors and nurses.
Dr John Knighton, medical director at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘The emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital is experiencing high demand which we believe is reflected across other parts of the country.
‘Our average daily attendance at the emergency department is around 320 patients and in the last 24 hours we have seen more than 400 patients at the emergency department of QA alone.
‘We apologise who any patient who has had to wait longer than usual.’
This is not the first time QA has experienced delays.
In December of last year, 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 October 2016, patients were forced to wait a shocking 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.
Dr Knighton said the latest incident was nowhere near as bad as in 2017 or 2016.
He added when demand did soar, the safety of patients remained ‘our primary concern’ and that he was ‘working closely’ with Scas and other partners to get ‘the right care in place at the right time’.
Dr Knighton said: ‘Our staff continue to work incredibly hard and we are extremely grateful for all they do every day to help ensure our patients receive the best possible care.
‘We have been working with local health and care partners for many months to prepare for winter and ensure we are as prepared as possible for spikes in activity such as this.’
Non-emergency patients with less serious illnesses can get help and advice from their pharmacist , by calling 111 or for minor injuries people can visit one of the three local minor injuries units based at St Mary's NHS Treatment Centre, Gosport War Memorial Hospital or Petersfield Community Hospital, or visit their GP.