Patient overload at Southport hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department has once again been affecting Ambulance service performance, a health watchdog has revealed.
Southport Lib Dem councillor Tony Dawson told Sefton Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee last night (Tuesday) that he had received a number of complaints about ambulance delays in the past week which had all been attributable to paramedics having to look after patients on trolleys at Southport hospital while doctors and nurses looked to ways of admitting them to a ‘full up’ hospital. These included a blind woman who had collapsed in Trafalgar Road and a child who was injured at school.
Ambulance Trust staff showed the health scrutiny committee slides which demonstrated that all hospitals in the region experienced serious problems in meeting the target of 20 minute average for release of ambulances. All were achieving about 30 minute averages although there were some occasions when the situation was much worse than this. Southport Hospital was marginally the worst performer in the region.
Both Ambulance Trust and Southport hospital representatives at the meeting assured councillors that they were always working together to try to improve this problem but there had recently been a sizable increase in both general pressures on hospital admittances in Southport and 999 calls to the ambulance service which both made the problem more difficult to deal with.
“This is a problem which has come up at different times over the past dozen years, says Cllr Dawson. “And each time the hospital and ambulance staff agree to address them. Unfortunately the pressures causing these problems are not going away.”
“We are not in a position to say whether or not these specific incidents could be prevented. They are being looked at individually by NHS managers.”
“If genuine calls to our 999 ambulance service are still increasing then we have to do every thing we can to ensure that patients are not waiting 40 minutes for an ambulance from Blackburn because the Southport Ambulance is sitting at the hopital.”
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