BURNS: Cross-NHS approach needed to tackle capacity issues, as ambulance delays highlight problem

Angela Burns AM has called for urgent assurances from the Welsh Government after receiving reports that ambulances have been delayed outside the University Hospital of Wales for several hours, unable to offload patients as the hospital had no capacity to see them.

The Shadow Health Secretary has received concerned reports as to major delays at the hospital last week; raising fresh questions over NHS capacity in Wales. Photographs have also emerged showing queues at the hospital, with many patients said to be facing an agonising wait for treatment.

These latest problems come nine months into a trial of a new system in Wales for handling 999 calls, for which far fewer calls are designated as red - those deemed to most immediately threatening to life.

Welsh Conservatives have highlighted the capacity problems which exist within the Welsh NHS. Some 4.3% of all Wales’ beds are impacted by delayed transfers of care. Waiting for further healthcare is persistently the greatest cause for delayed transfers of care, with 33.82% of delayed transfers being affected by this.

Angela Burns AM said:

“Whilst it is vital the ambulance service is prioritising life-threatening calls, these latest reported delays highlight the unsatisfactory experience so many face when travelling in an ambulance.

“It is vital the Welsh Government does more to ensure the outcome and experience for as many patients as possible is comfortable. Sadly, that is clearly often not the case.

“Staff within the ambulance service, and A&E departments across Wales, are often faced with incredibly stressful and challenging shifts to try and deliver a service acceptable to the public.

“However, there are clearly major issues with capacity. As monitoring of the new system for handling 999 calls continues, this is something the Welsh Government simply cannot ignore.

“With delayed transfers of care prominent within the health service, a cross-NHS approach is clearly needed to tackle capacity issues and improve experiences for patients.”