ONE patient was in an ambulance for seven hours yesterday waiting to be transferred to the emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
At one point, at least 10 ambulances were waiting outside A&E in Cosham, Portsmouth.
The queue comes just days after Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, said it had been placed on black alert.
A spokeswoman for PHT said it is working to reduce the pressure at A&E and that the queues were down to an unusually high demand.
‘We are seeing a marked and significant increase in the numbers of hospital attendances,’ she said.
‘This is resulting in an extremely high demand on our emergency department.
‘We continue to work closely with our health and social partners across the healthcare system and with South Central Ambulance Service.’
A spokesman from South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) said one patient waited seven hours before they were handed over to A&E staff.
The trust pointed out there were other options for people than hospital.
The spokeswoman added: ‘Non-emergency medical complaints can frequently be treated by a GP, or discussion with a pharmacy.
‘People can call 111 if they feel unwell out of hours and there are minor injury units available if an injury is not serious.
‘This then allows our emergency department staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save a potential long wait.’
As previously reported in The News, QA Hospital was placed on black alert several times last week.
The trust said the weather getting colder had seen the number of attendances at A&E rise, especially in frail and elderly people.
The Scas spokesman assured the public that vehicles were still available while some were queuing.
He said: ‘While 10 ambulances from the Hampshire east area (that includes Portsmouth) were waiting to hand over their patients at the QA Hospital, there were a further 13 ambulances and eight rapid-response vehicles working in Hampshire east.
‘We had a senior manager from the Hampshire operations team at QA Hospital working with hospital managers to reduce the current volume of ambulances waiting to hand over patients.’