Ambulance waiting times for stroke and suspected heart attacks have quadrupled in four parts of England since before Covid-19 – whereas others have only grown by half – underlining the severe impact of long accident and emergency handovers.
Response times have leapt across England over the past two years, particularly for category 2 and 3 incidents, but the data makes clear that the steepest increases are in areas where hospitals have the biggest handover delay problems.
Of the 10 patches with the largest increases in average category 2 performance between 2018-19 and 2021-22, four are served by major hospitals which make up NHS England’s “cohort one” of trusts selected for the worst handover problems; and four more are on government’s list of 15 which accounted for the most long handover delays last winter.
The increase in handover delays – in turn linked to delayed discharge, staffing, lack of community services and social care’s collapse – are the stand-out reason for areas with a steep rise in response times.
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Source: HSJ, 18 November 2022