Hospital figures ‘concerning’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 March 2015


TRANSFER times for patients being admitted into hospital from ambulances are ‘concerning’, according to the organisation which runs services in the South West.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SWASFT) has revealed almost one in four patients had to wait outside Weston General Hospital for more than the recommended 15 minutes, between April 2014 and January 2015.

In Bristol, hospitals take even longer with Frenchay having the worst rate. About 50 per cent of patients admitted by paramedics have to wait more than quarter of an hour.

SWASFT said transfer times are of ‘an ongoing concern’ because the longer it takes to get patients into hospital, the longer they wait for treatment, while paramedics are also prevented from getting back out on the road.

Its spokesman said it ‘works hard with acute hospitals in the South West to minimise handover delays at the emergency departments’.

A Weston Area Health NHS Trust spokesman said: “While these figures are still being validated and have not been finally agreed, we do know that when the hospital started to be affected by norovirus in September and our wards started to close to new admissions, our ambulance turnaround performance deteriorated.

“The knock-on effect from norovirus is that there are no beds on the wards to admit patients, leading to blocks in the emergency department.

“We are focusing on some service improvements within our emergency department itself to see patients sooner and meeting regularly with SWASFT to look at ways to improve handover times.”

Meanwhile the hospital is now norovirus-free after another fortnight-long battle against the contagious bug.

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