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Ambulance crews told to leave patients on a trolley if A&E wait exceeds 45 minutes

Paramedics will only wait with patients for 45 minutes before leaving them on a trolley in A&E, one ambulance trust has said.

One in five ambulances are waiting at least an hour outside accident and emergency departments to hand over patients, the latest data show, despite NHS standards stating it should only be 15 minutes.

Now, London Ambulance Service (LAS) leaders have told hospitals their staff will only remain with patients for a maximum of 45 minutes for handover due to “the significant amount of time being lost” waiting in A&E departments.

A leaked letter, seen by ITV News, from the LAS said: "From January 3 we are asking that any patients waiting for 45 minutes for handover... are handed over immediately to ED (emergency department) staff allowing the ambulance clinicians to leave and respond to the next patient waiting in the community.

"If the patient is clinically stable the ambulance clinicians will ensure the patient is on a hospital trolley or wheelchair/chair and approach the nurse in charge of the emergency department to notify them that the patient is being left in the care of the hospital and handover the patient."

The email added that if the patient was not clinically stable, ambulance crews would stay with the patient until handover is achieved but added that the clinical responsibility for the patient lied with the hospital.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Telegraph, 3 January 2023


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