Record number of ambulances queue at A&E departments in England as NHS comes under increasing pressure | UK News
Almost half of ambulance crews were delayed by more than half an hour dropping off patients at England’s A&E departments in the week to New Year’s Day, new figures reveal.
Some 44% were delayed by 30 minutes or more – the highest proportion on record.
More than a quarter (26%) were delayed by more than an hour.
The figures lay bare the pressures hospitals have faced in recent weeks, with flu cases rising by 47%.
On Friday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged the “enormous pressure” the NHS is under, and repeated his commitment to tackling waiting lists, which he first outlined during his first major speech of 2023 on Wednesday.
Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to a London school, Mr Sunak said that moving people out of hospitals into social care and communities, in order to free up hospital beds, is “one of the most powerful” ways to cut down ambulance waiting times and ease pressures on A&E departments.
He added that the government is also supporting the NHS “with billions of pounds of extra funding,” blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for current challenges.
On 1 January, Sky News counted 24 ambulances parked outside the A&E department at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
A member of ambulance staff told Sky News that at one point in the day their official dashboard showed 32 ambulances were stuck waiting to transfer patients at the hospital, with additional vehicles waiting round the back of the hospital after space at the front was taken.