Threefold rise in ambulances queuing more than 30mins outside Queen’s and King George A&Es
PUBLISHED: 13:07 24 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:07 24 December 2014
Hundreds more patients are being made to wait more than 30 minutes in ambulances queued outside A&Es at Queen’s and King George, according to new figures.
Three times as many ambulances spent at least half an hour stacked outside the hospitals in one month this winter as did during the same period last year, the London Ambulance Service (LAS) statistics show.
The London Assembly Labour Group, which obtained the figures, said they showed the system was “fast descending into crisis”. In response, the London Assembly Tory Group said things would have been worse under Labour.
Between November 3 and December 7 this year, 315 ambulances had to wait more than 30 minutes outside the Romford and Goodmayes hospitals.
From November 4 to December 8 last year, that figure was just 90, and during a period of the same length in the previous, 120 ambulances were made to wait.
LAS’s assistant director of operations Michael Pearce said more patients in serious and life threatening conditions were been dealt with than last year and added the service was campaigning to tackle a shortage of paramedics in the UK.
He went on: “Residents in Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge can help us by only calling us in a genuine emergency.”
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen’s and King George, said attendances at Queen’s A&E had risen 16 per cent year-on-year. Chief operating officer Sarah Tedford said: “The sheer numbers we are seeing means that some people are having to wait far longer than we would like in our A&Es.”
Labour’s Tom Copley AM said: “[The government] needs to realise that without real and sustainable support for the ambulance service, it is London’s patients who will continue to suffer.” But Tory AM Andrew Boff said: “It is lucky that the government didn’t decide to follow the Labour Party’s advice and cut health funding rather than protect it.”