Ambulance patients wait longer at Queen’s Hospital than most other hospitals
�Patients wait longer to be handed over to A&E from an ambulance at Queen’s Hospital than most other hospitals in the country, new figures show.
More than half of ambulances arriving at the hospital in Rom Valley Way have had to wait longer than 15 minutes to unload a patient at A&E this year, a Freedom of Information request has uncovered.
The hospital has consistently been in the slowest two dealt with by the London Ambulance Service in 2011.
There is a national goal, which is not an official target, for all patients to be handed over within 15 minutes by ambulance staff.
Lizzy Bovill, of the London Ambulance Service, said: “Delays in the transfer of care from the ambulance service to the hospital in A&E can mean patients wait unnecessarily on ambulance trolleys and in corridors.”
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“These delays also prevent our crews from responding to other patients who are calling 999.”
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Queen’s faced chaos last Christmas and in the first two weeks of this year when at times during 18 out of 19 days the hospital had to divert ambulances to other facilities, including Whipps Cross in Leytonstone.
Mark Ogden-Mead, director of operations at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), which runs Queen’s, said that the hospital had already made improvements to the unloading of ambulances.
He added: “We need to be able to cope with a surge in the number of ambulances at the hospital. At times, we have to deal with up to 12 ambulances on site at once.
“We are developing plans to increase our capacity both for ambulances and for seriously ill emergency patients as a whole so that we can make sure that every patient receives rapid treatment in the best setting.
“We are also working to remove delays at every stage of hospital care.”
In October, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley gave the green light to plans to eventually close the A&E department at King George’s Hospital, Goodmayes, which would see Queen’s having north-east London’s only A&E department.
Waiting times at King George’s A&E have been, on average, two minutes less than those at Queen’s in 2011, up until the latest available figure in August.