AMBULANCE chiefs say they are working hard with Wigan Infirmary to ensure patients are treated to as quickly as possible amid reports that some patients are waiting far longer than the 15 minute recommendation time.
Figures revealed following a Freedom of Information request revealed that the longest wait in an ambulance for a patient to be admitted to hospital by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) was three hours and 23 minutes.
Paramedics can only hand patients over to hospitals when staff there are ready to take charge of them.
This process is supposed to take no longer than 15 minutes and delays of more than 30 minutes can lead to fines for hospitals in England.
Derek Cartwright, director of operations for NWAS said: “We have been working closely for a number of years with our acute trust partners and commissioners to ensure a collaborative focus is maintained on achieving timely patient handovers, to support the release of resources to attend other emergency incidents as quickly as possible.
“Winter is our busiest time of year and we would urge the public to think carefully about using 999 and A&E services, to ensure emergency services are available for those who need them most.”
“Generally, the majority of hospitals are doing very well, however, there are a small number of hospitals which we are working with more closely.”
Hospital chiefs say they are working “We have seen an increase in both attendances at A&E and emergency admissions. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of ambulances arriving at our A&E over the past week. These rises reflect the increasing pressure on all A&E departments across Greater Manchester over the last seven days.
“Consequently, with the increased number of admissions and ambulances arriving, there will be times when it takes longer than usual to unload ambulances
“We’re advising people who don’t have urgent, life-threatening conditions, to choose walk-in centres, GPs, pharmacies or the NHS 111 helpline.”