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Ambulance handover delays still harming tens of thousands each month

Tens of thousands of patients are still suffering harm from delays in ambulance handovers to emergency departments despite a concerted effort to tackle the problem, figures seen by HSJ indicate.

The data shows more hours have been lost to handover delays lasting more than 15 minutes in most of the first five months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. In May, more hours were lost than in May 2022 and May 2023. 

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives told HSJ the problem remained severe and the government needed to act to improve it.

AACE managing director Anna Parry said it had consistently warned about the ongoing risk of handover delays.

She said: “This is why one of our key requests of the new government has been that they proactively support the ambulance sector’s aim to ensure patients universally receive high-quality, timely care and no longer experience unacceptable delays in response or handover of care, for example, at hospital emergency departments.

“This problem is not intractable. We have demonstrated that in areas where there is a strong leadership focus and true system-wide support, handovers can be managed effectively, despite the significant pressures and constraints our health and social care system is under. However, it remains vital that we see more demonstrations of excellent leadership to get to that point across the country.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 10 July 2024


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