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High demand results in return of N&N ambulance delays

PUBLISHED: 06:30 20 March 2014

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley


Hospital officials have blamed unprecedented demand after the region’s busiest Accident and Emergency department saw the return of ambulances queued up outside.

Paramedics reported that up to 14 ambulances were parked outside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Monday.

There has been a significant reduction in ambulance handover delays since the days when 17 ambulances were queued up outside the Colney Hospital on March 6 last year and an emergency tent was placed outside A&E on Easter Monday because of long delays.

A hospital spokesperson said: “On Monday March 17, we had the highest number of patients attending A&E on record and saw 342 patients, of which 134 arrived by ambulance. Between Friday and Monday our numbers were 21pc up on last year.”

Figures released by NHS England last month revealed that the number of patient handover delays of more than one hour in Norfolk had been dramatically slashed.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital had more than 1,400 ambulance delays of more than 60 minutes last winter, between November 6 and February 28. However, it was reported last month that the hospital had only had nine handovers of more than an hour this winter.

The introduction of extra staff at A&E departments, including hospital ambulance liaison officers, has helped speed up patient handovers. A new three-bay immediate assessment unit (IAU) has helped reduce delays at the N&N, which has around 750 ambulance arrivals a week.


  • Invariably, it wasn't a question of 'if' this situation would happen again but when. The largest and busiest A&E unit in Norfolk has never had enough staff to cope with unexpected volumes of emergency admissions and the managers will always fall back on the tired cliche that unexpectedly high demand is to blame. The NHS and the ambulance services are run like a business with resources and staff numbers 'tuned' to provide the best mix of efficiency against predicted demand. However, emergency admissions aren't predictable in the same way as other businesses are and the only way to ensure that you can cope with the unexpected is to employ over and above staff numbers based on the worse case scenario. Unfortunately, that will cost money, money which the cash starved NHS hasn't got. Unless a better model of funding is found this situation will invariably occur again, and again, in the future.

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    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • Funny didn't N&N get more money given to them to sort this out. Funny Amb service get hammed when they don't get to patients ! Why cos N&N managers hold crew up waiting for hand overs. Ambulance managers grow some balls and put the tent up again but this time use it . And prove a point......

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    DAVE !

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

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