Probe into delays as ambulances queue at county hospital

AN official probe will be launched into Gloucestershire’s severe hospital delays as queues of up to 25 ambulances wait to transfer patients during recent hot weather.

Ambulance chiefs spoke of how the service was under “intense and sustained” pressure and handover delays remain their biggest challenge.

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust lost around 10,000 hours waiting to hand over patients in the week starting July 4.

And Gloucestershire County Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee has agreed to investigate the problems which are causing the issue.

Chairman Andrew Gravells told the committee last Tuesday, July 12 that the situation was “really brought home” to him when he recently visited Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and saw dozens of ambulances waiting to hand over patients in the heat.

“When I had to walk from the car park to the X-ray and imaging department, as usual, there were about 25 ambulances stacked up,” he said.

“But this time it was quite a warm day and the driver’s door was open, the passenger’s door was open and the back door was open.

“And to see inside people on IV drips, with oxygen masks, walking through that into Gloucestershire Royal was quite an upsetting thing.

“There were people there with carers, partners and wives looking tremendously upset. It was the fact it wasn’t just one, or five, it wasn’t ten. It was probably 15, 20 or 25, something like that.”

Cllr Gravells said they need to review the “system flow” as soon as possible. He said it is a key piece of work that they need to do as soon as possible.

One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System strategy and transformation director Ellen Rule explained what is being done to improve the situation.

She said they work closely with the ambulance service, the hospitals and social care sector and will be undertaking a strategic review which will look at the whole system.

“As well as the strategic review, we have a whole system action plan which ensures we work together to deliver the improvements to flow and performance across our urgent and emergency care system ,” she told the committee.

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