When an ambulance arrives at accident and emergency department, the nationally agreed standard waiting time to be transferred to a hospital bed is around 15 minutes. However, recent news reports have demonstrated that there has been a 50% rise in the number of people waiting for a hospital bed for more than an hour.
The research, conducted by Labour, has shown that over 250,000 ambulances were delayed for more than 30 minutes last year, revealing just how strained NHS hospitals are becoming. The extended waiting time has meant that patients are being kept with paramedics for much longer, resulting in the crews being unable to respond to new calls until a bed has been found.
According to the BBC's report, the problem is perhaps due to a continued rise in the number of visits to accident and emergency departments. The report highlights that last year alone, visits totalled 14.2 million. It explains how the longest waiting time recorded was in the West Midlands, and came to more than eight hours.
The Independent’s report highlights the NHS’s awareness of an increased reliance on ambulance services, and explains how £28 million has been directed toward these facilities in order to assist with the volume of cases. The report explains how the overall aim of the ambulance service is to develop, providing more than just a transport to hospital service, but more of a mobile care service too.
The lack of available beds in hospitals throughout the UK has been a consistent feature in the news as of late. The reports regarding ambulance services follow news articles explaining how shortages of beds and staff have impacted planned medical procedures, causing last-minute cancellations. Despite this, the report details how this year, the NHS has performed an extra 500,000 operations in response to developing medical care options, as well as the UK’s ageing nation.