United Lincolnshire Hospitals sorry for A&E delays

Boston Pilgrim Hospital
Image caption The trust said it had "experienced unprecedented levels of patients"

A hospital trust has apologised after new figures revealed delays in getting patients from ambulances into its care were the worst in the country.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) had the highest waiting times for handovers over the winter.

The figures came from a report in the House of Commons Library.

Simon Evans, director of operations at ULHT, said it had been put under "extreme pressure" during the winter period.

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The handover of patients from an ambulance to emergency hospital department should take no longer than 15 minutes, according to NHS England.

However, nearly half (48%) of all ambulance handovers to ULHT were delayed by more than half an hour.

One in five ambulance handovers was delayed for more than an hour.

The data covers the period between December 2017 and February 2018.

Mr Evans said: "We have experienced unprecedented levels of patients in our emergency departments this winter, reducing our ability to transfer patients from the ambulance crews into our care.

"We would like to apologise to patients who have experienced delays in our emergency departments. However, we are already starting to see a reduction in delays from the changes we have implemented over the last month."

The trust was looking how it could manage transfers better, including increasing staffing at peak times, he said.

He was confident delays would continue to reduce.

The trust runs Lincoln County, Grantham District, Boston Pilgrim and County Louth hospitals.

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