East Midlands Ambulance Service 'worst on handover times'

EMAS ambulance
Image caption Ambulance managers say the final responsibility for admission lies with the hospital trusts

Ambulance handover times of more than an hour tripled in the East Midlands in two years, according to new figures.

It made East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) the worst performing trust of its kind in England.

A Labour Party FOI request showed the number of patients who waited more than an hour to be admitted to hospital rose from 6,000 to almost 19,000.

EMAS said it was working closely with hospitals to reduce the delays.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We expect patient handovers from ambulance to A&E to happen within 30 minutes.

"Accident and emergency departments are busy, but with nine out of ten people seen within four hours, hospitals are performing well."

'Perfect storm'

The Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group said high demand was putting pressure on the system but staff did their best to make any wait "as comfortable as possible".

Nationally, the figures showed hour-plus waits rose from 28,000 in 2013-14 to 76,000 in 2015-16.

Shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, said the jump showed the NHS was facing a serious crisis,

"Accident and emergency departments are under huge pressures and social care budgets have been cut deeply and all these things have come together as a perfect storm.

"Not enough investment by government to support the NHS is really coming home to roost."

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