More than 8,000 ambulance patients waiting over an hour for A&E handover

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More than 8,000 patients waited longer than an hour to be handed over from ambulance teams to A&E staff at hospitals in England last week, new figures show.

A total of 8,401 delays of more than 60 minutes were recorded across all acute trusts in the seven days to December 12, according to NHS England.

This is up slightly from 8,211 in the previous week, and represents 10% of all ambulance arrivals.

A further 11,102 patients waited between 30 and 60 minutes to be handed over, down slightly from 11,155 in the week to December 5.

It means nearly a quarter (23%) of all arrivals last week were kept waiting for at least half an hour – the same proportion as the previous week.

A handover delay does not always mean a patient has waited in the ambulance. They may have been moved into an A&E department, but staff were not available to complete the handover.

The figures give a snapshot of the pressure hospitals in England are continuing to face heading into the Christmas period, however.

HEALTH Ambulance
(PA Graphics)

University Hospitals Birmingham also topped the list for delays of at least 30 minutes (957), followed by University Hospitals of North Midlands (563), North West Anglia (488), Portsmouth Hospitals University (465) and Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Hospitals (464).

The 8,401 delays of more than 60 minutes in the week to December 12 was nearly twice the number for the equivalent week last year (to December 13 2020).

Just 5% of arrivals in that week had to wait more than 60 minutes for a handover, compared with 10% this year.

And 15% of arrivals had to wait at least 30 minutes, compared with 23% this year.

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