AN AMBULANCE service which had vehicles queuing outside an emergency department lost more than 30 hours of cover in one day.
This month, South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) has had up to 16 vehicles waiting to transfer patients to A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.
On October 15, the day 94-year-old Ada Cox was waiting seven hours for an ambulance, Scas lost 33 hours of ambulance cover.
A spokesman said: ‘The delay on October 15 was due to long delays in handing over patients.
‘That Saturday at 2pm we had 16 ambulances queued at QA Hospital due to delays and lost 33 hours of ambulance cover on that day alone which coincided with high red call (life-threatening emergency) demand throughout the day.’
The spokesman said on Monday, October 24, the day Doreen Mayhew had to wait 16 hours for an ambulance, it faced similar problems.
‘Mrs Mayhew’s call was a request to our healthcare professional ambulance service for a transfer within four hours,’ he said.
‘The delay is as a result of the problems on Monday.
‘When ambulances are queued for unacceptably long periods at the QA Hospital, this impacts on our service as we plan our resources on the basis that ambulances spend much shorter periods of time handing over to A&E staff.
‘When they can’t do that, we have less available resources than we need and therefore we have to prioritise those limited resources to our most urgent patients – those suffering life-threatening injuries or illnesses.
‘The impact is therefore felt most keenly by some patients whose illness/injury is non life-threatening and who unfortunately have to wait longer than they or we would like for a response.
‘In both instances, patients were regularly welfare checked by the paramedics and nurses on our clinical support desk in our control room for the duration of their wait.
‘They were also given advice on what to do should their symptoms change or worsen and an apology and explanation for the delay given due to circumstances outside of our control with long ambulance delays at QA.’