Shropshire

Boy taken to hospital in fire engine as no ambulances available

Ambulances
Image caption West Midlands Ambulance Service said vehicles were being held up at A&E departments

A boy was taken to hospital in a fire engine as there were no ambulances available.

The Shropshire Star reported the 10-year-old had been involved in a car accident in Telford during the early hours of Wednesday and suffered a head injury.

West Midlands Ambulance confirmed it had been unable to take a patient to hospital at that time.

Ambulances were delayed by waiting times at the hospitals, it said.

The service's director of clinical commissioning, Mark Docherty, said it was an issue out of its control.

He said the hospitals needed to make improvements to make sure ambulance staff could get patients out of vehicles and hand them over quickly.

At the time of the accident, four emergency ambulances had been delayed by over an hour each to hand over their patients at two Shropshire hospitals.

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Earlier this month, West Midlands Ambulance reported there had been no ambulances available in the whole of the county "for a short period" on Saturday, 20, March.

Image copyright Sarah Portlock
Image caption The NHS trust which runs the hospital tin Telford says it was seeing "unprecedented volumes" of patients

The service said it had raised the issue of long delays when offloading patients with the hospitals on a number of occasions.

Debbie Kadum, chief operating officers at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said the trust was seeing unprecedented volumes of very poorly patients attending its A&E departments.

The number of A&E cubicles at Telford had increased by 40 per cent but it has not been enough, she said.

Shropshire Fire Service said it could confirm that it did take the unusual step of transporting a casualty to hospital using one of its fire engines.

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