Spike in hospital delays ahead of busy Easter

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Hospital delays remain 'the single most frustrating reason for poor ambulance performance within the region', as it emerges there has been a spike in handover times as the NHS gears up for a busy Easter break.

Initial data shows that 67pc of handovers at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn on Monday took more than half an hour, when the target is 15 minutes.

In one case an ambulance crew was kept waiting for more than three hours - which is a quarter of their entire shift.

The hospital said it had a particularly high number of attendances at its A&E department over the weekend and on Monday and there were delays in discharging medically fit patients into the community, leading to very few beds being available.

Trish Dunmore, interim divisional director of emergency care, said: 'We have acknowledged this challenge and are working closely with the East of England Ambulance Service and local commissioners to reduce delays and improve patient experience for those patients arriving by ambulance.'

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The hospital also had a suspected case of norovirus on its Windsor Ward, prompting the official opening of this additional specialist frailty ward to be cancelled today.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust's board meet today and its performance report shows that hospital delays are still a significant hurdle to it meeting response times targets. The report said: 'Hospital delays still remain the single most frustrating reason for poor performance within the region.' The service is calling on people to 'be aware, prepare, and care' over the long Easter weekend. The trust said there is normally a rise in 999 calls at this time, and many people needing medical attention during bank holidays have long-term conditions but have run out of medical stocks, or have ignored an underlying illness which worsens and they cannot see a GP.

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