Ambulance watch: More ambulance delays at N&N as emergency department fails to cope with “record number” of patients
Thirteen ambulance crews were left queuing outside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, after the emergency department struggled to cope with “record numbers” of patients.
The all-too-familar scenes on Friday evening come just weeks after Matt Broad, locality director for the ambulance service in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, admitted the service was struggling to cope with increased 999 calls.
Ambulance turnaround targets state that it should take no more than 15 minutes from the arrival of an ambulance to the clinical handover of a patient.
But Mr Broad said that the unprecedented surge had prevented the team from meeting their targets.
He said: “So far this summer we have been experiencing an incredibly high number of 999 calls. Friday was a busy day which saw a high number of patients attending the Norfolk and Norwich A&E.
“As a result, several ambulances had to wait longer than usual outside before handing over their patients.”
He added that patients remained the service’s priority and that
crews “continued to monitor and treat the patients while waiting for space”.
After 17 ambulances – the entire fleet serving the N&N – were
left unable to attend 12 emergency calls because of delays in March 2013, hospital bosses pledged to cut A&E wait times.
Chris Cobb, director of medicine and emergency care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said that improvements had been made.
“On Friday we experienced a high level of demand and our teams worked very hard to clinically prioritise and maintain the safety of all of our patients.
“We have made great improvements in ambulance turnaround times over the last year, establishing an Immediate Assessment Unit and recruiting additional A&E staff to provide quicker assessment and diagnosis for patients.”
But an unprecdented increase in emergency admissions over the last three months resulted in the NHS trust missing its four-hour A&E target in June.
Have you been affected by ambulance delays? Contact health correspondent Adam Gretton on Adam.firstname.lastname@example.org