Leicester

East Midlands Ambulance Service: Delays 'double in year'

East Midlands Ambulance Service
Image caption Both ambulance and hospital bosses said they had plans for dealing with the problem

Delays transferring patients from ambulances to hospital have nearly doubled for one trust, figures show.

A briefing to East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) gave a snapshot for October's performance and compared it to 12 months ago.

This showed a rise in delays from 4,663 to 9,219 hours - the equivalent of nearly 770 paramedic shifts.

Both ambulance and hospital bosses said they were doing "everything in our power" to deal with the problem.

Image caption Hospitals said they had seen a surge in complex cases but were working to cut delays

The target for these handovers, which include a verbal briefing and the transfer of paper and electronic records, is 15 minutes, but the briefing to EMAS's board revealed nearly 2,400 patients waited one to two hours, more than 700 waited two to four hours and 30 waited more than four hours.

It also said time lost was the equivalent of 767, 12-hour, paramedic shifts.

The trust, which serves about 4.8 million people across six counties, had faced years of criticism over response times, being told in 2017 changes were needed.

But it had seemingly turned a corner after been rated "good" by the Care Quality Commission in the summer.

The region's busiest A&E, at Leicester Royal Infirmary, saw its delays almost triple over the year.

Rebecca Brown, chief operating officer at Leicester's Hospitals, pointed to a surge in complex cases.

"Together with the ambulance service, we are ensuring patients are cared for and treated safely despite these challenging circumstances.

"We are also determined to reduce handover times and are focused on trialling new ways of working together to ensure ambulances get back on the road as quickly as possible," she said.

Ben Holdaway, EMAS director of operations, said: "Neither us nor the hospital want this, and so we are doing everything in our power to improve this situation for our patients."


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