Ambulance 'log jam' at Daisy Hill
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
THREE-hundred-and-ninety-five patients had to wait over an hour for treatment after arriving at Daisy Hill's A&E by ambulance in the last 12 months.
The figures, which were obtained from the Health Minister by the Ulster Unionist Party, also revealed that 21 patients exceeded a two hour waiting period at the Newry hospital.
Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy, described the situation as "very worrying" but did not blame the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
“It clearly illustrates a logjam being experienced by the hospital and it is very worrying that some patients are being forced to wait for a significant period of time to be referred to relevant clinical personnel," said Mr Kennedy.
“Delays in ambulance turnaround times mean that patients are being kept on trolleys including in the back of vehicles for some time, for far too long in my opinion and this has a major impact on the paramedics who are being prevented from being available to respond to other patients in need of assistance.
“I would say that the delays in transferring patients are not the fault of the Ambulance Service, rather it is symptomatic of the ongoing difficulties in our Health Service.
“It's essential that ambulances can hand over patients quickly as evidence shows that patients who are seen early have better outcomes than those forced to wait a long period of time."
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust admitted that the ambulance turnaround times in their acute hospitals can "sometimes be longer than we would like" but denied that patients are forced to wait in an ambulance as they are brought into hospital on arrival.
“The Trust is working closely with the Ambulance Service to improve turnaround times," said a Trust spokesperson.
“It is important to be aware that ambulance turnaround times include the entire time an ambulance spent at a hospital including the periods before and after patients have been handed over to the Emergency Department."
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