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Ambulances in A&E log jam at York Hospital
PARAMEDICS have been forced to wait with patients in corridors at York Hospital for more than two hours, The Press can reveal.
At one point on Sunday, 11 ambulances were queuing outside the accident and emergency department at the hospital in Wigginton Road, a member of Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has told The Press. The hospital blamed an “exceptionally busy” period for the delays.
The hospital has been finding it difficult to deal with the volume of patients, meaning paramedics cannot leave until beds have been found.
The paramedic who contacted The Press said: “One crew have been in the corridor for two-and-a-half hours with one patient. We have crews from Pontefract and Doncaster currently in York because we are all tied up here.
“It’s getting worse without a doubt. Over the weekend I know it was busy and we are getting more and more waits in the corridors. This is becoming more and more of a relevant issue in York.
“I would like to see more qualified nurses and more beds on wards, but it just isn’t going to happen. If we don’t reach our response times at the end of year then as a trust we get fined, but it’s out of our hands.”
The hospital was recently on “red alert” with ten wards closed due to a winter vomiting bug outbreak and resultant staffing problems. Only one bay is now affected by the seasonal norovirus.
But Mandy McGale, director of operations for the hospital, said: “This time of year is a busy time for the emergency department at York Hospital and Yorkshire Ambulance Service. It has been an exceptionally busy couple of days, with high levels of attendances and ambulance arrivals.
"There were a lot of very ill patients, and staff worked tirelessly to ensure that patients with urgent health care requirements were prioritised according to their clinical needs.
“All escalation policies were put into place and staff worked with colleagues from YAS to keep delays to a minimum.”
David Williams, YAS deputy director of operations, said: “During times of high demand hospitals may experience busy periods which, understandably, can result in handover delays.” He said the trust was working closely with others to minimise and avoid delays in future and was working to build on an NHS report on the issue.
Mr Williams said: “As a regional service we have the flexibility to move our resources at any time to ensure that we provide sufficient cover and a timely response to all of our patients, wherever they may be.”