More than 30,000 patients suffered “appalling” delays stuck in ambulances outside London A&Es last year because of a lack of hospital beds, it can be revealed.
They were forced to wait at least 30 minutes — double the maximum time permitted under NHS rules — before crews were able to wheel them into the emergency department.
More than 3,000 were kept in ambulances for more than an hour. The total amount of time wasted during “delayed handovers” totalled 16,361 hours — the equivalent of almost two years. It is one of the reasons London Ambulance Service failed to hit the eight-minute response target for 999 calls every month last year, as crews and vehicles were unavailable for the next call.
Patient groups today warned that the total delay in patients receiving care was likely to have been far greater, as patients may have to wait an hour or more for an ambulance and then at least four hours in A&E.
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