Emergency patients forced to wait outside in ambulances in East Lancashire (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Emergency patients forced to wait outside in ambulances in East Lancashire
DOZENS of patients have been forced to wait ‘too long’ in ambulances before being admitted to East Lancashire’s emergency ward.
NHS guidance recommends patients should wait in ambulances for no longer than 15 minutes, while delays of more than 30 minutes can lead to fines.
In the most recent national figures, for the week to December 4, there were 73 ‘queued ambulances’ at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, compared to the national average of 31.
Last week, the Lancashire Telegraph revealed how 1,000 patients were forced to wait more than four hours after arriving at the hospital for emergency care.
The ambulance figures again highlight how staff are struggling to cope.
Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “There must be such a lack of staff in the emergency department that paramedics are unable to hand over to anyone.
“It can be highly distressing for emergency patients, especially the elderly, to be left waiting in an ambulance because the emergency ward is full.”
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust did not respond in time for our deadline, but Gill Rose, interim divisional general manager of medicine, said last week that delays in the emergency department have mainly happened when a large number of patients arrived within a short period of time.
The trust says that it is also planing to create more ‘ambulatory care’ space at the Royal Blackburn, which will enable patients who come in as an emergency to be treated in an outpatient setting without the need for an overnight stay in hospital.
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