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Ambulance handover delays at A&E are putting patients at risk

Between April 2020 and March 2021 there were approximately 185,000 ambulance handovers to emergency departments throughout Wales. However, less than half of them (79,500) occurred within the target time of 15 minutes.

During that period there were also 32,699 incidents recorded where handover delays were in excess of 60 minutes, with almost half (16,405) involving patients over the age of 65 who are more likely to be vulnerable and at risk of unnecessary harm.

Data published by the Welsh Government highlighted that in December 2020 alone, a total of 11,542 hours were lost by the ambulance service due to handover delays. This figure has been rising sharply and has now reached pre-pandemic levels once again.

Inspectors said these delays have consistently led to multiple ambulances waiting outside A&E departments for excessive amounts of time, unable to respond to emergencies within their communities.

"These delays have serious implications on the ability of the service to provide timely responses to patients requiring urgent and life-threatening care," the report stated.

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Source: Wales Online, 7 October 2021


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