Thousands forced to wait outside swamped hospitals as cold spell hits

Heaving A&E departments are forcing thousands of patients to wait for hours in ambulances outside hospitals as freezing conditions hit the UK.

Health chiefs were forced to apologise yesterday after spiraling waiting times in one hospital caused a queue of 20 ambulances unable to offload patients.

In London alone, the winter crisis means more than 6,000 patients each week are being left in the back of emergency vehicles because A&E departments are too busy to admit them, new figures reveal.

The turnaround issues means an unfortunate delay for our patientsSouth Central Ambulance Service

The crisis in hospitals means that ambulance services are then unable to respond to subsequent 999 calls.

Last night Britain’s most senior emergency medicine doctor said departments across the country were “buckling under pressure” with staff “working at the very limits of their abilities”.

Full story in The Telegraph 3 January 2017