Nearly 1 in 5 Herts patients wait over an hour in an ambulance before being seen

A high percentage of patients admitted to Accident and Emergency departments in Hertfordshire are facing some of the longest waits in the country as the NHS continues to be stretched by a surge in coronavirus cases.

Almost a fifth of patients admitted to West Hertfordshire hospitals by ambulances had to wait for more than an hour to be transferred into the department – potentially leaving emergency patients waiting in ambulances and corridors.

In the past week, within the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust – which includes Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead Hospital – 17% of patients have waited more than an hour in an ambulance, the highest percentage in the country.

In addition, 36 per cent of patients have had to wait for more than 30 minutes to be transferred into the hospital.

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That was actually a reduction compared to the week prior, with a quarter of ambulance patients having to wait for more than an hour to be seen.

In both weeks the trust had the highest figure of any trust in England.

There is no data available on how many of these patients were admitted with coronavirus infections, however it shows just how stark the NHS’ problems are in our county.

The new data also comes as the trust urged people to avoid A&E last week after saying that Watford General were dealing with a “large number of Covid-19 patients”.

Hospitals across the country are facing strain, with concerns that the effects of the Christmas period may mean capacity is soon overstretched.

That will be a pressing concern for Watford General, with new data showing that the Watford Borough Council area has seen the largest jump in new cases in the past seven days.

Times are significantly better within North and East Hertfordshire NHS Trust, with 4 per cent of patients waiting more than an hour, and 15 per cent have waited 30 minutes to be transferred.

However, the trust is also running out of capacity when it comes to urgent care beds.

As of last Sunday, December 27 there were no available critical care beds across their hospitals, including the Lister Hospital in Stevenage and New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

HertsLive – Hemel Hempstead