"Ambulance stacking" figures reveal 30 minute waits outside Russells Hall

First published in News

PATIENTS being rushed into Russells Hall Hospital faced a longer wait in the ambulance than anywhere in the country according to new figures.

In the first weekend of January there were 151 incidents of patients having to wait more than 30 minutes in an ambulance before being handed into Dudley NHS Trust care, the total for that week was 255.

Stephanie Peacock, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis said: "Thousands of people from across Halesowen and Rowley Regis use Russells Hall Hospital and this crisis will be of great concern to them.

"These shocking figures show that Dudley borough is the ambulance stacking capital of the country, suffering under massive winter pressures and the Tory-led Government’s disastrous top down re-organisation."

She added: "Patients in Dudley are paying the price for David Cameron’s mismanagement of the NHS, and the decision to proceed with a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that he promised wouldn't happen.

"The unfolding crisis in A&E is a clear and visible symptom of a system under pressure and there is no more visible sign than ambulances queuing up outside a hospital."

A Dudley NHS Group of Hospitals confirmed the number of ambulances arriving at Russells Hall Hospital has increased.

A spokesman said: "However, the volume of ambulances arriving at Russells Hall Hospital has increased and the pattern of their arrival can sometimes be very challenging.

"There are times during peak demands when ambulance crews do sometimes wait longer if the A&E is busy, however, we ensure that we prioritise all patients who need urgent, medical attention." "We have a dedicated hospital ambulance liaison officer who is a member of the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) based in A&E and it is their role to liaise with our emergency staff to make sure patients are managed from the point of arrival in a timely manner."

The spokesman added: "During the winter we have also set up a consultant led assessment team who assess the needs of those patients arriving by ambulance to help move them into the most appropriate part of the hospital and therefore help with A&E capacity."

And the trust also announced it is working with West Midlands Ambulance Service to improve waiting times at Russells Hall Hospital.

The spokesman said: “We work closely with the ambulance authorities on a daily basis to help improve handover times. We have access to the WMAS information systems so that we can plan for ambulance arrivals and work with WMAS on managing demand.

“We closely manage ambulance turnaround times throughout the day at our operational meetings involving key people such as clinical site co-ordinators, matrons, senior managers and Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officer (HALO).”

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