Huddersfield patients left waiting in back of ambulances as hospitals miss handover targets

HRI and CRH miss all handover targets in April - with some patients waiting an hour

Julian Hughes
West Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Patients have been forced to wait up to an hour in the back of ambulance before they are taken in to A&E.

Figures for April reveal Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) and Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) missed all their “handover” targets for taking patients from paramedics.

Both hospitals missed their goals of accepting 100% of patients brought to A&E by ambulance within 15 minutes.

The figures show roughly one in ten patients had to wait longer than 15 minutes, some up to half an hour.

A small percentage of patients had to wait between 30 and 60 minutes – roughly 1% at CRH and less than a tenth of 1% at HRI.

No patients were made to wait more than an hour but hospital chiefs expressed some frustration with the performance and claimed disputes between trade unions and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) over break times were part of the problem.

Speaking at May’s board meeting, operations chief, Mags Barnaby, said: “For the most part they are hard working team but some of those customs and practices do affect us.

“We are on the phone to YAS every day.

“There’s been a very positive relationship and I think it’s getting better.”

Chief executive, Owen Williams, said: “I do think YAS are trying to work with us, it’s not a hostile relationship but it’s hard to get where we need to be.”

In a statement for The Examiner, Mr Williams said: “We are working hard with YAS colleagues to improve turnaround times and to improve care for our patients.

“YAS have been very receptive to looking at joint ways of improving care and we will continue to work with them to ensure that our patients receive the care they should expect.”

David Williams, Deputy Director of Operations for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Effective hand overs 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 to monitor ambulance turnaround times.

“During times of high demand hospitals may experience busy periods which, understandably, can result in delays.

“A ‘Turnaround Collaborative’ is now well established in Yorkshire and the Humber to develop and deliver processes that are already helping to improve the clinical handover of patients and turnaround performance.

“This is working well across the region and this includes our colleagues at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

“It is through this collaborative whole-system approach that together we will continue to minimise and avoid delays in the future.”

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