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03
Mar

Ambulance crisis


An investigation by Sky News has reported that thousands of man-hours were wasted this winter in England as ambulance crews had to queue at Accident & Emergency departments because hospitals were too full to admit patients.

An investigation by Sky News has reported that thousands of man-hours were wasted this winter in England as ambulance crews had to queue at Accident & Emergency departments because hospitals were too full to admit patients.

Sky News found that in the four week period covering the last two weeks of December and the first two weeks of January some 1,780 days of operational time was lost. This would be the equivalent of taking 64 ambulances out of service at the same time. Furthermore, Sky News reports that as a result of these delays and the pressure on the service, over £5m was spent on hiring private ambulances or charity-run ambulances to help ease the crisis.

The delays are said to occur when hospitals are either too busy or too overcrowded to meet the recommended 15-minutes it should take for crews to hand patients over to staff.

Sky News received these figures under Freedom of Information requests to the regional ambulance services in England.

The Department of Health gave ambulance services an extra £50m funding this winter to help maintain the service and fund greater capacity, but unprecedented levels of demand for all frontline services are said to have put the entire NHS under pressure.

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