But both ambulance and hospitals bosses say work is being done to reduce that wait.
In fact – numbers from the QE show improvements are being made compared to previous performances.
- 961 hours lost in handovers between ambulances and QE since start of Jan
- But half of patients seen within 15 minutes between Nov and Feb
- That figure was 15% during the same time in the previous year
- There’s also been a 12% rise in ambulance arrivals this winter
Chief Operating Officer Jon Wade said:
“We are working very closely with the ambulance service to implement plans which have resulted in improvements.
“For instance, we have 50% of patients offloaded within 15 minutes between November and February. For the same period in the previous year that figure was 15%.
“It should also be noted that we have seen a 12% increase ambulance arrivals at the Emergency Department through the winter period compared to last year.”
Meanwhile response times for ambulance responses to emergency calls (not life-threatening calls) went from an average of 14 minutes in January to 28 minutes in February.
That’s 10 minutes longer than the national standard.
But EEAST interim chief executive Dorothy Hosein said staff had worked tirelessly to deliver care and they have a robust winter plan in place.
“There have been some challenging days this winter and we would like to thank our staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the winter period so far.
“We will continue to work very closely with our partners within the wider NHS system to ensure that patients are treated as quickly as possible.
There have been some challenging days this winter
“We have robust winter plans in place allowing for additional capacity to deliver care to our patients. As part of this we:
- Work closely with our partners within the wider NHS to ensure that patients are treated as quickly as possible. Handing over a patient from an ambulance to a hospital emergency department is expected to take no more than 15 minutes. Delays beyond these times mean there will be further delays to ambulances returning to the front line.
- Provide Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALOs) in A&E departments to assist hospital A&E teams and our ambulance crews to handover the sickest patients as a priority.
- Are actively recruiting more staff against a nationwide shortage of paramedics.
- Have developed the handover escalation process, where we work closely with hospitals’ emergency departments to ensure patients can be handed over efficiently, and our crews can get back on the road quickly.
- Are putting in place additional capacity to maintain vehicles and minimise breakdowns – keeping more ambulances on the road.
“We are urging the public to choose wisely and if it’s not a life-threatening emergency use NHS Choices, call 111, visit a pharmacist or see your GP.”