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Ambulance handover delays soar as winter bites

Ambulance handover delays rose last week with close to 13,000 crews waiting more than an hour to offload patients — marginally more than the comparable week last year.

Week of 27 November 2023 figures were missing data for several days from some trusts, NHSE said.

The number of hour-plus waits for ambulancs to pass patients to emergency departments was 12,797, according to new NHS England data. 

That appeared to be steeply up from about 8,000 in the past two weeks, although NHSE said last week’s was not directly comparable due to missing data.

It was just ahead of the 12,534 recorded for the week ending 11 December last year.

Last year the numbers rose to over 16,000 in the third week in December then peaked at 18,720 in the week running up to New Year, in what many said was the worst winter crisis for decades, amid a sharp, early wave of flu.

This year the numbers of long waits have risen earlier than last, and several ambulance trusts have reported coming under severe pressure in the last few days. NHS England has warned junior doctors strikes next week and in the new year may compound hospital flow problems.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 15 December 2023


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