Shropshire ambulance crews still facing delays
Delays for ambulances handing over patients at Shropshire's two main hospitals fell in November but continue to be high at peak times, health commissioners have been told.
In 227 cases, ambulance crews waited longer than an hour to offload patients at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital – down from 267 the month before.
New figures in a report to Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group show ambulances were waiting at least half-an-hour on 788 occasions in November, compared to 867 in October.
NHS rules state it should take no longer than 15 minutes.
Dr Julie Davies, director of performance and delivery at Shropshire CCG, told a recent meeting of its governance board that it continues to be challenging at peak times and on Tuesday night 20 ambulances turned up at PRH within a couple of hours.
She said: "It's significantly higher than the department was designed to take."
In her report to the board, she said: "Work continues between Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and West Midlands Ambulance Service to further improve ambulance handovers but this is severely tested when ambulance conveyances exceed five to six an hour on each site which is now occurring more regularly.
"Neither site has the physical infrastructure to cope with these peak levels of activity.
"The CCG has extended the hospital ambulance liaison officer at RSH to the year end to minimise handover delays and support the trust.
"Handover nurses are also in place at both sites to support the care of patients during the busiest periods."
WMAS says it works closely with all hospitals in the region to tackle handover delays and operates a number of measures to help ensure ambulances are able to offload these patients as quickly as possible.
Last week Sath said the county's A&E departments remain under a great deal of pressure and in November the trust saw more than 11,000 patients attend its emergency departments, with around 3,500 of those arriving by ambulance.
In the same month Shropshire’s A&E waiting times were ranked the second worst in the country, with nearly a third of patients not being seen within the target four-hour time-frame.
Health bosses say the A&E departments at PRH and RSH have faced considerable workforce challenges.
They have urged people to think carefully about whether they could use alternative services and only use A&E for the most serious injuries and illnesses.