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Ambulance chief calls out acute trust over ‘lack of action’ on handover delays

An ambulance service has raised concerns over the record number of ‘hours lost’ to handover delays at an acute hospital on its patch, which it says is happening despite the number of arrivals being at its lowest level in seven years.

West Midlands Ambulance Service University Foundation Trust has said the situation at Royal Stoke Hospital presents a “significant risk to patient safety”, but “we don’t currently see actions being taken that are reducing this risk”.

It comes amid rising frustrations from ambulance chiefs around the country at a perceived lack of support from acute hospitals around handover delays. Ambulance response times for some of the most serious 999 calls have ballooned in recent months, in part due to lengthy handover delays at emergency departments.

In a letter sent to a member of the public on 31 March, Mark Docherty, director of nursing at WMAS, said: “WMAS [is] experiencing difficulties as a direct result of delays in patient handovers at acute hospitals. We have been highlighting our concerns for over six years as the situation has become progressively worse every year."

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Source: HSJ, 10 April 2022



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