The number of patients waiting for an hour or more in the back of ambulances to be transferred into A&E has more than doubled the last three years, leading to ‘ambulance queues’ forming outside English A&Es.
Figures based of Freedom information requests to English Ambulance Trusts show that the number of patients who waited longer than 30 minutes to be transferred from an ambulance into A&E has increased by almost 60 per cent from 258,814 in 2013/14 to 412,837 in 2015/16.
Figures also show that over two times more patients waited longer than one hour in the back of an ambulance compared to 2013/14. In 2013/14 28,162 patients waited more than sixty minutes compared to 76,725 in 2015/16.
Figures for London Ambulance Service NHS Trust reveal that the number of patients waiting 60 minutes or more has more than trebled since 2013/14, from 2,843 to 8,577.
Figures from South East Coast Ambulance Service show that there has been a 63 per cent increase in patients waiting an hour or more compared to 2014/15.
North West Ambulance Service has seen the number of people waiting 30 minutes or more increase by 119 per cent, from 17,984 in 2013/14 to 39,385 in 39,385 in 2015/16.
Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “These shocking figures show the scale of the crisis currently facing our A&E services across the country.
“Every day, patients are being forced to wait in the back of ambulances outside A&E departments – sometimes for longer than an hour. For patients already in distress this absolutely will not do.
“Time after time the Tories had presided over missed targets on A&E waiting times and ambulance response times, putting patients at risk.
“It is clear that this Tory Government has failed to grasp what’s happening in our overstretched hospitals. The Tories urgently need to get a grip on the crisis in our A&E departments. Patients deserve better.”