MORE than 100,000 patients have been delayed by 30 minutes or more in the back of an ambulance in the North-West over the past three years, according to Labour figures.

Another 16,700 were kept waiting by more than an hour said shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth.

He said the total of 102,200 people waiting more than half-an-hour after being driven to hospital by the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust since 2016 was the 'worst in the country'.

The statistics were accumulated by Labour after making Freedom of Information requests to the 10 NHS trusts serving England.

Mr Ashworth said across the country at least 1.5 million patients had been delayed by 30 minutes or more in the back of an ambulance over the three-year period.

NHS guidance states that patients should be handed over to health staff within 15 minutes of arriving at hospital

Mr Ashworth said: "This is damning evidence of the crisis our NHS has been pushed into after a decade of cuts.

"Many of these patients will be elderly in desperate need yet they have been left waiting and waiting. It's a disgrace and comes after cuts to 17,000 hospital beds under the Tories."

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Ambulances queuing outside Accident and Emergency departments have become a common and distressing sight. It's frustrating for crews who need to be on their way to the next emergency call and worrying for patients waiting to be seen."

Since 2016, 1,499,053 patients were delayed more than 30 minutes. Due to missing data from the Yorkshire and South Central ambulance services it is likely the total figure is higher.

Ambulance handover delays can be caused by lack of capacity in A and E departments

No-one from the NWAS was immediately available for comment on Friday.