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Coronavirus delays putting patients’ lives at risk, warn ambulance chiefs

PUBLISHED

Ambulance chiefs have warned coronavirus precautions in hospital emergency departments are putting patients’ lives at risk because of long delays before patients are being treated.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has written a formal warning to three hospitals in the region over the delays to handing over patients from ambulance to hospital staff.

In one case, a patient was left waiting with ambulance crews for up to three and a half hours.

According to the letter, obtained by the Health Service Journal, the delays are being caused because of tougher infection control measures with ambulance bosses warning the situation is “dangerous”.

Director of nursing Mark Docherty said the delays meant ambulances could not be sent to “life threatening emergencies”, and warned: “Lives will be put at risk and patients will come to harm as a result”.

He added: “I alerted you to a serious concern about patients being kept on ambulances outside your hospital. Of great concern is the fact that a hospital risk assessment identifies this process as a mitigation to reduce risk in your hospital…"

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Source: The Independent, 29 October 2020

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