Lincolnshire

Trust apologises as Lincolnshire ambulance handover delays worst in country

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The trust in charge of Lincolnshire’s hospitals has apologised after new figures revealed that delays in transferring patients from ambulances into its care were the worst in the country.

A report from the House of Commons Library has shown that United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust had the highest waiting times for ambulance handovers over the winter period.

The handover of patients from an ambulance to emergency hospital department should take no longer than 15 minutes, according to NHS England.

However, nearly half (48%) of all ambulance handovers to ULHT were delayed by more than half an hour.

One in five ambulance handovers were delayed for over one hour.

The data comes from the period between December 2017 and February 2018.

Simon Evans, Director of Operations at ULHT, said that they had been put under “extreme pressure” during the winter period.

He said: “We have experienced unprecedented levels of patients in our emergency departments this winter, reducing our ability to transfer patients from the ambulance crews into our care.

“We would like to apologise to patients who have experienced delays in our emergency departments, however we are already starting to see a reduction in delays from the changes we have implemented over the last month.

“We are working closely with East Midlands Ambulance Service and NHS Improvement to look at how we can better manage transfers into our emergency departments, including increasing our staffing levels at peak times.

“Having visited the best performing trusts in our region we have applied the lessons they have learnt to our departments and are confident that the measures we have taken will continue to reduce delays.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are moving in the right direction.”