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Wales has longest waits in ambulances, figures reveal

By Amy_Downward  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

Wales has longest waits in ambulances

Wales has longest waits in ambulances

Comments (19)

The longest waits in ambulances have been found to be in Wales, new figures show.

The data for NHS hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales, obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, suggest Wales had the longest waits.

In the response it was revealed one ambulance was left queuing for six hours 22 minutes.

The Welsh government said the figures were unacceptable but that most people were waiting less than half an hour.

Paramedics can only hand patients over to hospitals when staff there are ready to take charge of them.

This process is supposed to take no longer than 15 minutes and delays of more than 30 minutes can lead to fines for hospitals in England.

The BBC asked all UK ambulance services for their longest waits for each of the 12 weeks from early August to the end of October.

Each weekly maximum wait in Wales for the period was above three hours.

Scotland had the best record in the UK with none of the weekly maximums exceeding two hours.

Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said: "There's always going to be a small number of patients whose transfer is delayed, but not to the extent of these figures - which are approaching three, four - sometimes six hours.

"And remember, these figures relate to the three months up till October. They don't include the really pressured time of the winter and so it's unlikely these figures are going to improve - and that must be a cause for concern."

A Welsh government spokesman said: "Lengthy patient handover delays are clearly unacceptable."

But he added the long delays were the "exception to the rule" as the average waiting times were around the 20-minute mark.

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19 comments

  • thomastdout  |  February 23 2014, 5:41PM

    Westlangdon Westie is an old commie you will never get him to criticise his socialist buddies. Socialism is killing the Welsh nation, we are at or near the bottom of all league tables and will remain so as long as this liebor lot are in charge.

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  • weslangdon  |  December 11 2013, 1:59PM

    kasparov; you are conflating different comments, your comments on health economics are vacuous assertions and your comments on the public spending settlement are divorced from reality, you seem to understand neither...happy now?

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  • kasparov44  |  December 10 2013, 8:25PM

    @weslangdon - take a look at the comments on this item - some of which have clearly come form people working in the NHS - and tell us which you think are 'stupid, empty assertions". Seems to me that you have the current monopoly in that area.

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  • carmshire  |  December 10 2013, 7:49PM

    The Ambulance Service has been massively underfunded for years. There are less Ambulances on a day to day basis than there were 10 years ago and the demand has increased by 10 times in that time. With the reduced availability of GP's and closure of hospitals and wards, it is no wonder that Ambulances are queuing up outside hospitals every day. Ambulances are being diverted daily from Glangwili to Prince Philip or Withybush or vice versa. This leads to longer travel times for patients and therefore increased clinical risk. The hospitals are effectively CLOSING the A+E units to Ambulances. This has been going on for years although it is getting worse now. The Ambulance service has therefore seen it's response times fall and actually lose funding as a result just to make matters worse. There are so many different heads of departments with their PA's in the hospitals and Ambulance services on fat cat salaries who are not pro active at all. They merely react to each day's calamities in a very ineffective way.

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  • weslangdon  |  December 10 2013, 7:48PM

    kasparov; I do understand that the NHS can only treat cure old age nor can it cure stupidity, empty assertions do not an argument make. And we will all need to take personal responsibility for our health to a far greater extent than we do at present.

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  • kasparov44  |  December 10 2013, 7:24PM

    Weslangdon, are you seriously trying to claim that lower spending levels in health in Wales are the result of the financial settlement from Westminster? If so then you are deliberately trying to mislead people about conscious budget limitations introduced by the Welsh government over successive years. Or maybe you just don't understand how health economics work. Either way, Labour really need someone more informed on here to make their case.

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  • weslangdon  |  December 10 2013, 6:35PM

    point2; health inflation, the cost of medicines and new treatments is expanding even faster than our elderly population [who use the NHS far more than any other age group.] The burden is falling on those in work now, not when they actually paid their contributions years ago. If you are so enamoured of private health sign up, sign up and when it goes pearshaped you will be in casualty in an NHS hospital. The NHS can never be fully funded when medical knowledge and possible are expanding so quickly

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  • point2  |  December 10 2013, 6:20PM

    We don't get presented with huge bills because we pay for it throughout our lives by paying national insurance or have you forgotten about that little deduction from your salary . I believe I would be getting a better service if I was in a private scheme where all of my contributions were used for the service I wanted not have some diverted to other purposes like gypsy camp sites, supporting the dead welsh language, putting fat salaries in the management of the NHS managers who don't seem able to manage , has one just stood down in North Wales and is another due to go. I know someone who has been waiting almost 2 years for surgery and is still waiting, this would not happen with a private system

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  • weslangdon  |  December 10 2013, 5:25PM

    Despite all of its shortcomings the Welsh NHS does a great job, you might have to wait a little longer but the care is still excellent and you don't get presented with a huge bill as you do elsewhere in the "civilised world." The cause of its stress lie with the devolution settlement not with Cardiff Bay, the blame is Westminsters such as it is

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  • kasparov44  |  December 10 2013, 4:19PM

    Weslangdon changes the subject again. Staying on topic, NHS Wales is chronically underfunded (compared to England), its saddled with supernumerary staff on ten years salary protection (two years in England) and struggles to meet unrealistic targets set by reorganisation-happy ministers (same as England). The ConDems may be screwing up the health service across the border with gimmicks and privatisation but Labour has nothing to be smug about in Wales.

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