Ambulances were delayed by more than 2,000 hours during hand overs at Conquest Hospital.
Hospital turnaround figures revealed by South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) show ambulances were set back by 2,148 hours between April and December 2015 as patients waited to be admitted to the Conquest.
Paramedics were also delayed by 1,870 hours waiting for patients to be admitted to A&E at Eastbourne DGH,
Chief executive of SECAmb Paul Sutton said patient hand overs at acute hospitals are one of the ‘main problems’ facing the trust.
The number of hours lost to turn around delays at Conquest has increased by 31 per cent from 2013 to 2015. Speaking in December, Mr Sutton said on an average day, more than a third of resources can be unavailable because paramedics and vehicles are ‘tied up’ waiting to hand patients over at hospitals.
The handover figures across Sussex have increased by 35 per cent in three years, from 9,172 to 12,376 hours. Mr Sutton said the ‘non achievement’ of the target and the loss of ambulance hours is one of SECAmb’s ‘biggest risks’. Nationally agreed performance standards for handing over patients is 15 minutes, from the ambulance arriving at the A&E department.
Sarah Wilmer, head of nursing urgent care at East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs the Conquest, said: “The trust works closely with colleagues at South East Coast Ambulance to ensure patient safety and the timely handover of patients into our care.
“In general, longer handover times reflect periods of significant operational pressure on the hospital which reduce the flow of patients throughout the hospital and affect our ability to admit patients in a timely manner.”
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