High demand results in return of N&N ambulance delays

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bra

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

Hospital officials have blamed unprecedented demand after the region's busiest Accident and Emergency department saw the return of ambulances queued up outside.

Paramedics reported that up to 14 ambulances were parked outside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Monday.

There has been a significant reduction in ambulance handover delays since the days when 17 ambulances were queued up outside the Colney Hospital on March 6 last year and an emergency tent was placed outside A&E on Easter Monday because of long delays.

A hospital spokesperson said: 'On Monday March 17, we had the highest number of patients attending A&E on record and saw 342 patients, of which 134 arrived by ambulance. Between Friday and Monday our numbers were 21pc up on last year.'

Figures released by NHS England last month revealed that the number of patient handover delays of more than one hour in Norfolk had been dramatically slashed.

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The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital had more than 1,400 ambulance delays of more than 60 minutes last winter, between November 6 and February 28. However, it was reported last month that the hospital had only had nine handovers of more than an hour this winter.

The introduction of extra staff at A&E departments, including hospital ambulance liaison officers, has helped speed up patient handovers. A new three-bay immediate assessment unit (IAU) has helped reduce delays at the N&N, which has around 750 ambulance arrivals a week.

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