A HEALTH care professional has raised concerns over patient waiting times at York Hospital's A&E department.

The staff member, who wishes to remain anonymous, claimed that some patients have been left waiting for as long as 14 hours in corridors at A&E after arriving by ambulance.

They claimed patients can be left waiting at the hospital with ambulance crews as there are not enough beds available to be seen immediately.

The health care worker claimed this has meant ambulance staff are unable to attend 999 calls.

“Last night there was a patient brought in at 7.30pm and they are still here (the next day at 9AM) with ambulance crews,” said the health care professional, referring to an incident earlier this month.

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was not aware of waiting times as long as 14 hours, and it could not verify the worker's claims. However, the trust recognised there were delays and said staff shortages were the main reason behind the problem.

A trust spokesperson said: “Since the start of the year we have seen high numbers of patients in our hospitals who have tested positive for Covid-19.

“This puts our hospitals under severe strain when coupled with increased staff absence and high numbers of patients waiting to be discharged who no longer need to be in hospital.

“This has an impact on our emergency departments, resulting in patients waiting longer for beds to become available.

“We recognise that this means some patients will spend a long time in the emergency department before they are admitted to a ward, and we are sorry for this.

“We are working with our partner health and care organisations including the ambulance service and social care providers to reduce delays for patients from when they arrive in the emergency department through to when they are ready to go home.”

Yorkshire Ambulance Service was also unable to verify the health worker’s claims.

But a spokesperson said delays with handover time delays are currently a countrywide issue.

Nick Smith, executive director of operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Effective handovers from the ambulance service to hospital emergency departments are an integral part of delivering the best clinical care for patients and we work together closely with our healthcare partners to monitor ambulance turnaround times.

“We continue to liaise with hospitals and other NHS partners in Yorkshire and the Humber to try to resolve any issues and minimise the impact on patients.”

The health care professional stressed that NHS staff were not to blame for the problem.

They believed that the problem was a result of numerous long-term issues. These include staff shortages coupled with other factors such as a lack of infrastructure in York to support vulnerable people after leaving hospital.

If you have experienced long waiting times at York Hospital, contact: dylan.connell@newsquest.co.uk