Ambulance chief warns 'patients coming to harm every day' due to handover crisis

Ambulance chiefs have revealed one patient waited 23 hours to be admitted to hospital as they warn "patients are coming to harm every day" due to the handover crisis.

Ambulance chief warns 'patients coming to harm every day' due to handover crisis

The claim comes as the Health Minister Edward Argar has pledged to visit the county to see the issues for himself, following a meeting with the county's concerned MPs.

Following the meeting on Wednesday morning it has also been revealed that the county's Integrated Care Board will hold a review into the crisis, while MPs and health bosses will meet to discuss what action is needed.

It comes as West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has come under increasing focus in recent months due to concerns about deteriorating response times.

A combination of pressures across the health service have seen ambulances repeatedly left waiting outside hospitals to hand patients over.

The result is a lack of ambulances available to respond to patients, and significant increases in all categories of response times.

In total 1,130 patients waited more than four hours to be handed over to hospitals by WMAS ambulances in March.

The trust has repeatedly raised concerns over the issues, with warnings about the impact on patients.

Director of Nursing at West Midlands Ambulance Service, Mark Docherty, said the trust had seen a sharp rise in the number of serious incidents involving patients compared to last year – up from 81 to 204.

The trust said these were "very often as a result of crews simply not getting to patients quickly enough".

In a message to staff at the ambulance trust Mr Docherty said: "No-one can be under any illusion of the impact these delays have on patient safety.”

He added: "These delays are causing deep concern to an increasing number of organisations, but also from our staff and staff side representatives.

"Late shift finishing, reduced training opportunities through reduced patient contacts, concern about safety for deteriorating patients, moral hazard from dealing with deteriorating patients on the phone, as well as violence and aggression being experienced by crews when they attend patients who have been waiting sometimes for hours on end.

"The reality is that patients are coming to harm every day due to the handover delays and no-one can now doubt that.”

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