Patients held in ambulances for over five hours as A&Es struggle to cope with winter pressures - Burnham

30 January 2013

Andy BurnhamLabour has today published its sixth NHS Check report on the worst winter in the NHS for almost a decade.

The NHS has been unable to meet its target to treat A&E patients within 4 hours for the last 17 consecutive weeks. This winter, an extra 47,000 patients have had to wait beyond this target time compared to last year, whilst an extra 10,400 patients were made to wait 30 minutes or more outside A&Es in the back of ambulances because hospitals were too full.

A Labour Freedom of Information request sent to England's ambulance trusts revealed some patients waiting outside hospital doors in ambulances for over 5 hours. The longest patient waits in ambulances outside hospitals include:

Great Western Ambulance Trust - 5 hours and 42 minutes

West Midlands Ambulance Trust - 5 hours and 5 minutes

Southern Central Ambulance Trust - 4 hours and 56 minutes

Yorkshire Ambulance Trust - 3 hours and 48 minutes

South West Ambulance Trust - 3 hours and 38 minutes

East Midlands Ambulance Trust - 2 hours and 53 minutes

London Ambulance Trust - 2 hours and 34 minutes

Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said:

"It is becoming clearer by the day that Ministers left the NHS unprepared for winter. A number of A&Es are simply not coping and these figures show that waiting times are the longest in almost a decade.

"The NHS is suffering from David Cameron's toxic mix of cuts and reorganisation. Hospitals simply don't have enough staff and there are growing concerns for patient safety. Almost 5000 nursing jobs have been lost since he entered Downing Street.

“Up and down the country, ambulances are unable to dispatch patients, hospitals are 'full to bursting' and people are waiting on trolleys in corridors.

"These chaotic scenes in A&E take us straight back to the bad old days of the mid 1990s. The Government must take urgent action to ensure all A&Es have enough staff to provide safe standards of patient care and meet national standards."