The length of time ambulances are forced to wait outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E has soared this year, the latest data shows.
A severe handover breach – which means that the ambulance had to wait outside casualty for more than an hour before the patient was admitted – has been reported 145 times so far this year, compared to just two in 2015.
We realise how important it is to have the ambulances able to respond to new calls so we constantly strive to keep handover times as short as possible
A North West Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We are continuing to see a high demand for our services right across the north west due to a substantial increase in the number of red calls we are receiving, which are for those patients with serious and life-threatening conditions.
“These are patients that are in a serious condition and do need to go to hospital, however with the increase in activity this does put additional pressures on hospitals and emergency departments.
“Unfortunately this does at times result in ambulance crews waiting longer to handover patients into the care of hospital staff.
“We do urge the public to support us by only dialling 999 for life-threatening and potentially life-threatening incidents and otherwise considering alternative pathways of care such as minor injury units, walk-in centres or their GP.”
A spokeswoman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The trust has always worked extremely well with the Ambulance Liaison Officer (ALO) in the Emergency Department.
“We realise how important it is to have the ambulances able to respond to new calls so we constantly strive to keep handover times as short as possible.
“The ALO is an integral member of the Emergency Department team and that, along with some new processes where we have our most senior nursing staff members triaging patients as soon as they enter the hospital, has helped us keep handover times to a minimum in most cases.”
The Victoria recently noted record attendances in its A&E department, as revealed by The Gazette, where patients were being treated in a corridor.