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A&E delays persisting problem

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A report has found that delays in patients reaching A&E are seriously impacting the North East Ambulance Service.  Within six months of last year there were a recorded 10,599 delays, with 196 being over two hours. This saw paramedics unable to respond to waiting 999 calls alongside a host of other problems.  The report highlighted that the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND) had the most delays.  A spokesperson admitted that some patients experienced an “appalling process of care”.

Medical Director of County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust, Chris Gray, made the point that UHND was only designed for 30,000 annual attendances, but was seeing 63,000.  One paramedic, Jane Bramley, said that they are “tied up”, meaning that emergencies stack up and incoming patients have to wait for spaces to become available for treatment.

Will take “appropriate action”

Prof Gray said that the North East Ambulance Service could try to share the workload more fairly with surrounding hospitals.  He said that even though they are aware of the pressure on their A&E department, they still deliver patients to their hospital.  NEAS chief executive, Simon Featherstone, said that they were working with the hospital to improve the situation.  He said that an ambulance liaison officer was employed to assist the handover of ambulance patients into the acute hospital.  

Health officials say that no patients have been harmed as a result of delays as of yet.  However, the Care Quality Commission said that if the problem persists, they would have to take “appropriate action”.

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