Ambulance staff have apologised to two men who were left waiting for over an hour with potential head and spinal injuries after they were involved in a crash in Blackpool.
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Emergency services were called out to the scene of an accident involving a moped and a car on Warley Road, North Shore at around 6.43pm on Tuesday.
Police say that officers arrived soon after to find a blue Ford Fiesta and a silver Yamaha scooter had crashed at the junction of Links Road.
But paramedics from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) didn’t get there until 7.47pm – more than an hour later – blaming a high number of emergencies in the area and delays in handing over patients at hospitals including Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital.
Firefighters treated the casualties at the scene while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Ambulance staff apologised today to the two patients for the delay in attending the scene.
A spokesman for NWAS said: “We were called to a road traffic collision in Blackpool at 6.43pm.
“Unfortunately, due to an extremely high number of emergencies in the area at the time of the call and a number of ambulance crews waiting to handover patients at hospital, we were unable to arrive on scene until 7:47pm where we treated two male patients.
“One patient was taken to Royal Preston Hospital with a suspected spinal injury and the other was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with a head injury.
“We do our best to attend all patients as quickly as possible but unfortunately during times of high demand it becomes very difficult to be able to arrive as soon as we would like.
“We apologise for the delay on this occasion and wish the patients all the best.
“If they would like to discuss this further with us, our patient experience team will be happy to go into more detail with them.”
The two men are not believed to be in a life-threatening condition.
Blackpool Victroia Hospital has spent £2m ahead of the winter on an extended Urgent Care Centre ward with part of that designed to help ambulance staff hand over patients more efficiently.
Patients arriving by ambulance will be taken into a newly-created handover room to be placed on a hospital stretcher in a more private setting, rather than it being done in a corridor.
The work is continuing bit it is hoped it will be completed soon.
Pat Oliver, director of operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We work closely with our colleagues at the North West Ambulance Service to make sure patients are assessed, treated and handed over as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“Nationally the NHS emergency system is under considerable pressure and we are working very hard to ensure all measures to reduce the impact of handover delays are embedded into normal practice in our Emergency Department at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
“Patient safety is always our priority when patients are transferred from ambulance to A&E staff and those requiring urgent clinical attention receive appropriate care as soon as possible.
“It is vital the public help us by trying to keep A&E free to handle emergency and life-threatening cases.
“We urge patients to think about where they could access the best care for their condition and use the Walk-In centres when appropriate to prevent A&E from becoming over congested.”