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Ambulance delays cause ‘severe harm’ to record 6,000 patients a month

A record number of patients suffered “severe harm” as a result of ambulance delays in December, soaring by nearly 50 per cent in just one month as the NHS crisis deepened.

Almost 6,000 suffered permanent or long-term harm due to long waits to hand over patients outside A&Es – up from just over 4,000 in November.

A further 14,000 patients were likely to have suffered “moderate harm”, an analysis by The Independent of NHS ambulance data and estimates of harm by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) found.

This includes incidents that resulted in patients needing further treatment or procedures, the cancelling of treatment, or being transferred to another area.

Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said the figures are a “worrying reminder of the huge pressure the NHS is under”.

She said: “Trust leaders are doing everything they can to provide patients with safe, high-quality care but they know patients face lengthy handover delays far too often, contributing to avoidable harm.”

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Source: The Independent, 20 January 2023


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