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Shocking figures reveal waiting times in ambulances for people in Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire Live

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Shock figures show that patients across Lincolnshire are waiting up to nearly eight hours in ambulances before being admitted to hospitals.

One patient in January 2019 waited in an ambulance for seven hours and 43 minutes from arriving at Boston Pilgrim Hospital before they were handed over to A&E staff.

This was one of the worst waits recorded by East Midlands Ambulance Service last year, according to figures revealed following a Freedom of Information request.

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The call had been logged as Category 2, which is categorised as an emergency.

There were 46 patients at Lincolnshire hospitals who faced waits of more than four hours outside A&E last year.
That was up from 42 in 2017/18.

The figures included a wait of six hours and 39 minutes at Boston Pilgrim Hospital in April 2018, and one of six hours and 26 minutes at the same hospital in January 2019.

The service has been coming under pressure

Overall, 5,957 ambulance arrivals at Lincolnshire A&Es took more than an hour to handover in 2018-19.

This was down from 7,722 in 2017/18.

Ambulances are supposed to hand over patients within 15 minutes of arriving at A&Es, so patients can be treated in hospital rather than in the back of an ambulance, and crews can attend their next call.

Less than a third (31.6%) of ambulance arrivals at Lincolnshire A&Es were able to handover patients within 15 minutes in 2018/19.
However, this was up from 24.5% in 2017/18.

Patients in Lincolnshire can wait up to seven hours for an ambulance

A third of handovers (35.9%) took between 15 minutes and 30 minutes, while one in five (18.7%)took between 30 minutes and an hour.
However, there is considerable variation between hospitals in terms of the lengths of waits faced by patients.

 

At Skegness and District Hospital, 44.8% of handovers took place in 15 minutes in 2018/19, while it was just 27.3% at Boston Pilgrim Hospital.
At Grantham and District Hospital, one in four handovers (25.3%) took between 30 minutes and an hour, the highest proportion locally.

Concerns about long handover times delaying ambulance responses – as crews are waiting at A&Es rather than able to respond to calls – have been raised by coroners following inquests as potentially putting patients at risk.

As part of its Long Term Plan, NHS England is committed to working with ambulance services to eliminate hospital handover delays.
It has issued guidance to ambulance services, hospitals and primary care services to better monitor levels of demand in order to better manage them.

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Where handovers take more than 30 minutes, they should be escalated to on-call hospital director so immediate action can be taken to release ambulance resources. 

For delays over one hour, the on-call CCG director and on-call NHS England director must be contacted to escalate the response further.
Handover times across England have improved in the past year.
 

In 2018/19, half (50.4%) of handovers took place within 15 minutes, up from 43.5% in 2017/18.
The number of longer waits have also dropped.
 

There were 308 waits of more than four hours across England in 2018/19, down from 558 in 2017/18. The total number over one hour has dropped from 135,117 to 86,835.
 

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