The overcrowded hospitals in England struggling the most to cope this winter – full list

Patients’ lives are being put at risk due to dangerous delays in emergency care, the ambulance service has warned. Shocking new data has revealed the real impact of overcrowding at hospitals in England, as ambulances are forced to queue outside.

It is meant to take just 15 minutes for patients to be transferred to A&E by paramedics. However, NHS data has shown last week more than 80 percent of them waited longer than 30 minutes.

And some ambulances have been left queuing outside for “hours”. This also has the knock-on effect of delaying response times to 999 calls, ambulance bosses said.

The figures released on Tuesday also showed that:

  • In November, 30 percent of patients waited longer than the target time of four hours in A&E in November
  • Patients were left waiting an average of 38 minutes for category two emergency calls such as heart attacks and strokes – above the target time of 18 minutes
  • However, both measures were a slight improvement on this time last year, which was the worst winter since records began 20 years ago.

As reported by the BBC, NHS England acknowledged the system was under “considerable strain”, but said the health was in a better position than in winter 2022, due to extra staff and beds.

But more up-to-date handover times, which are available for the week ending December 10, suggest the situation will get worse as winter progresses.

As an example, more than a third of ambulances waited longer than 30 minutes when they arrived at A&E last week – up from just above a quarter the previous week.

Although the data is specific to England, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) said the crisis was felt across the UK.

AACE managing director Anna Parry said handover times were having a “severe impact” on the response times of the ambulance service getting to category two emergency calls.

And Richard Webber, of the College of Paramedics, told the BBC his members had started to witness longer delays in recent weeks with waits of more than four hours “not unusual”.

“Every day we are hearing of crews stuck outside A&E that long – some of the big hospitals can have 15 to 20 ambulances outside at times,” he said.

“It is really frustrating as we know there are patients in the community who need our help but we cannot get to them.”

Of the hospital trusts worst hit by ambulance handover delays, University Hospitals Plymouth took the top spot, with more than three quarters of handovers taking more than 30 minutes.

The 10 worst affected hospital trusts for this are:

  • University Hospitals Plymouth
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals
  • Royal United Hospitals Bath
  • East and North Hertfordshire
  • Gloucestershire Hospitals
  • Portsmouth Hospitals
  • Shrewsbury and Telford
  • North West Anglia
  • North Middlesex
  • Worcestershire Acute Hospitals.

These concerns come just weeks after Andrew Cox, the senior coroner in Cornwall, wrote to the Health Secretary Victoria Atkins, urging her to take action over the delays experienced by ambulance crews

Mr Cox revealed he had overseen three inquests where the delays were a factor.

However, these were “not isolated cases”, he said – warning they could lead to further deaths in the future.

Medical director for NHS England, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, accepted that the emergency care system was under “considerable strain”.

He said: “While the sheer amount of care being delivered for patients by our staff is incredible, we know we still face a challenging winter on a number of fronts, with the number of patients in hospital with flu and norovirus increasing considerably each week, continued issues discharging patients and another period of industrial action.”

However, he praised staff for continuing to “pull out all the stops” to deliver for patients.

He also referred to the fact the waiting list for routine care had dropped from 7.77 million to 7.71 million in October.

Waiting lists were already high pre-pandemic, with 4.43 million people on a waiting list for care in February 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *