Paramedics spend 500,000 hours outside busy A&Es, say auditors

Paramedics last year spent 500,000 hours outside hospitals with a patient in the back of their ambulance because A&E staff were too busy to accept them, an official inquiry has revealed.

That was the equivalent of 41,000 12-hour ambulance shifts being taken up with waiting instead of crews being able to attend to other emergencies, according to a report by the National Audit Office.

Ambulance crews are meant to take no more than 15 minutes to hand over a patient to A&E staff and another 15 minutes to prepare their vehicle to get back on the road. “Each failure to meet this standard results in a poor experience for the patient and a delay in an ambulance crew being available for a new emergency call,” the report says.

Last year just 58% of ambulances transferred their patient within 15 minutes and 65% were ready to leave a quarter of an hour later.

Full story in The Guardian 26 January 2017