Delays at A&E4th September 2007
Patients are facing delays of fifty minutes as they wait in ambulances outside A&E departments in south east Wales.
The Welsh Ambulance Service have said that during the last three months an average 106 vehicles per week were kept waiting for 50 minutes before the patients they were carrying were admitted.
The University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, said 160 of its beds could not be made available due to "bed-blocking".
Hugh Ross, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said the summer of 2007 had been much busier than previous years: "this has meant more patients have experienced delays, and the trust regrets that this has been the case."
"We know that more than 30% of people who come to our emergency unit could be treated by their GP or pharmacist, based on Welsh Assembly Government surveys," he added.
Although the summer months are usually quieter, the ambulance service have reported increased "difficulties" and "demand".
Mike Cassidy, director of ambulance services in Wales, said the public needed to be made aware of the "alternatives" to calling an ambulance, such as GPs and NHS Direct Wales, so that the service could be reserved for the "most seriously ill".
A spokesman for the ambulance trust said the number of ambulances waiting for fifty minutes had gone down to 85 this week. He said they were speaking to hospitals in order to find solutions to the demands placed on A&E departments.
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Title: Delays at A&E
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 3957
Date Added: 4th Sep 2007