Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

999 CREWS LEFT WAITING 21/2 HOURS AT HOSPITAL; Review after 'Exceptionally Busy' Day

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

999 CREWS LEFT WAITING 21/2 HOURS AT HOSPITAL; Review after 'Exceptionally Busy' Day

Article excerpt


A REVIEW is being carried out after paramedics were left waiting two-and-a-half hours during an "exceptionally busy" day at a Teesside hospital.

Extra doctors and nurses had to be drafted in at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, to help ease the pressure on the accident and emergency department last Thursday.

Seven pre-planned operations had to be cancelled over Thursday and Friday.

Concerns have been raised by ambulance crews who, having to wait with patients until a bed becomes available, claimed to have been left off the road for up to two-and-a-half hours.

One paramedic said a normal wait would be 10-15 minutes, with one-and-a-half hours the worst they said they had known.

The whole of the North-east was said to have been busy for admissions on Thursday with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) saying Middlesbrough was most under strain.

The ambulance service said in one hour alone they received 999 calls for four "Red 1" incidents - the most serious classification of calls, where patients have suffered either a cardiac arrest or have stopped breathing. Normally they would expect to receive one or two.

Spokeswomen for both James Cook University Hospital and the NEAS said the sudden increased pressure could not have been anticipated. Last week's flooding was ruled out as a cause.

A spokeswoman for the NEAS said: "The North East Ambulance Service works closely with colleagues in hospitals across the North-east to try and minimise any handover delays. We do this by trying to anticipate any peaks in demand, and make the necessary arrangements. However some busy periods cannot be anticipated."

One ex-worker of the North East Ambulance Service, who had been told of the delays, told the Gazette: "While you are stood there you are not dealing with the other jobs coming in and there is always the possibility of something happening with your patient while you are waiting. …

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