Ambulance handover delays highest since start of winter

Ambulance handover delays highest since start of winter
Around one in eight delays were of more than an hour.

More than a quarter of patients arriving by ambulance at hospitals in 英国 last week waited at least 30 minutes to be handed over to A&E departments – the highest level since the start of winter, 新数据显示.

一些 21,051 delays of half an hour or longer were recorded across all hospital trusts in the seven days to March 27.

This was 26% 的 79,588 arrivals by ambulance.

The proportion of handovers delayed by at least 30 minutes has been rising in recent weeks, having stood at 20% in mid-February.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Figures for ambulance delays are published by NHS England and the current data runs from the start of December 2021.

There were 9,225 arrivals last week – 12% of the total – who were kept waiting more than an hour to be handed to A&E teams, 从 10% in the previous week.

Analysis of the data by the PA news agency shows that Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust reported the highest proportion of handovers delayed by at least 30 minutes last week (74%), followed by Gloucestershire Hospitals (71%), University Hospitals Plymouth (71%) and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston (68%).

University Hospitals Plymouth topped the list for handovers delayed by more than an hour (58%), followed by Northern Lincolnshire & Goole (57%), Gloucestershire Hospitals (54%) and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston (52%).

A handover delay does not always mean a patient has waited in the ambulance. They may have been moved into an A&E department but staff were not available to complete the handover.

The figures are another sign of the pressures hospitals are facing amid the latest rise in coronavirus infections.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Separate data published on Thursday showed staff absences at NHS hospitals in England due to Covid-19 have jumped to their highest level since the end of January, with numbers climbing in all regions.

Absences averaged 27,571 a day last week – the equivalent of 3% of the workforce – up from 23,127 the previous week, though still some way below the 45,736 (5% of the workforce) reached in early January.

Responding to the figures, NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis 说: “NHS staff remain under pressure as they deal with high numbers of patients in hospital alongside a spike in staff absences due to Covid-19 – with numbers of staff off sick due to Covid almost doubling in the last three weeks.

“Yet NHS staff are working hard to deliver as much routine care as possible, as well as rolling out the NHS spring booster programme, so if you have a health concern, please come forward for the care you need.”

总计 15,632 people were in hospital in England with Covid-19 as of March 30, up 18% week on week and the highest since January 19, NHS England said.

Patient numbers are nearing the peak reached in early January – 17,120 – but remain well below the 34,336 at the peak of the second wave of the virus at the start of 2021.