Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Queen Alexandra Hospital 'working to avoid' a repeat of ambulance queues

Ambulances at QA
Image caption A paramedic said some patients waited more than three hours in ambulances outside the hospital

A hospital trust insists it is "working hard" to avoid a repeat of on-duty ambulances queuing outside an emergency department in Portsmouth.

A third of Hampshire's on-duty fleet of 46 ambulances were queued at the Queen Alexandra Hospital on Monday.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust's Sophie Gough said the emergency department had been "exceptional busy".

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes said the situation was "really worrying" and "serious decisions" were needed.

Patient Dave Cole, 64, had to wait for three hours outside the hospital on Monday before being transferred to another ambulance.

"There was five other patients in there and they were all freezing cold," he said.

"In this day and age we shouldn't put up with that."

Image caption Dave Cole called an ambulance on Monday night after feeling unwell at his home in Gosport

Ms Gough, clinical lead at the Queen Alexandra Emergency Department said: "No-one wants to see 16 ambulances outside. I've never seen it before and I don't want to see it again.

"I'd like to reassure the public that they are assessed on arrival by a senior nurse and a doctor will then go out and assess them in the back of an ambulance, if necessary, and to start care and treatment.

"We're working hard for this to never happen again," she said.

Image caption Sophie Gough said patients were assessed and treated in ambulances

Patients were transferred to other hospitals, including Southampton General.

The Southampton hospital has asked NHS England to investigate the problem as it has taken about 70 emergency patients transferred from Portsmouth in the last three months.

Conservative MP Ms Fernandes said: "This is really worrying, elderly people need care urgently and they aren't getting the care they need."

"The fact we are seeing potentially negative effects on neighbouring hospitals means we have reached a point which is serious now and we need to take serious decisions on the strategies and management," she added.

Image caption At one point 16 ambulances were waiting outside the Queen Alexandra's emergency department

David Fenton - Health Correspondent, BBC South

It's been described as a 'perfect storm' for the hospital. The emergency department at the Queen Alexandra was besieged this week with very ill people.

The problem is many of those patients were waiting in ambulances, some of them for six or seven hours. At one point a third of all Hampshire ambulances were stuck outside the QA. They could barely fit in the parking spaces.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the Care Quality Commission chose this week to send inspectors into the hospital on a surprise visit, just to see how things are going. They are now considering their findings and deciding what action, if any, to take.

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