Today’s Western Mail reports on new figures that show that ambulances wasted 12,700 hours in three months waiting outside Welsh hospitals during long and inefficient patient transfers.
The emergency vehicles are supposed to spend no longer than 20 minutes at hospital after arriving with a patient, under Welsh Ambulance Service handover targets. But inefficiency forces ambulance to wait for longer especially at over-crowded hospitals where there are no beds available, leaving patients having to remain on ambulance trolleys.
The paper says thay opposition politicians have called on the Welsh Government to “get a grip” on the problem – the equivalent of 529 wasted days over the quarter. They warned that ambulances which spend a long time parked outside hospitals are unable to respond to 999 calls, creating potentially life-threatening situations.
Welsh Liberal Democrats Leader, Kirsty Williams said: “These figures paint a damning picture of how the Welsh Labour Government is running our NHS. We’ve been telling them for years that there is systemic failure in the way the Welsh NHS handles emergency situations.
“Month after month, we see that Welsh patients have to wait an unacceptable amount of time for ambulances to respond to emergency call-outs and now we see that ambulances have to wait an unacceptable amount of time to transfer patients and get back on the road to respond to other emergency calls.
“When I challenge either the First Minister or the Health Minister on ambulance services, their stock answer is that the ambulance trust is making good progress.
“This is a totally unacceptable situation and it must change.”