UNITY CLOSE, England -- An ambulance crew had to wait with a 73-year-old patient for two hours after delivering him to Burton’s Queen’s Hospital.
The two paramedics were not allowed to leave until Kenneth Wood had been officially handed over to staff at the busy A&E department.
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Mr. Wood, who was rushed to casualty after injuring his head in a fall, said the paramedics should have been back on the road instead of having to stay with him in the hospital’s waiting area.
The patient, of Unity Close, Church Gresley, said: “The ambulance crew had to wait with me for two hours until I had been seen. They could have attended two or three more emergencies in that time.
“It seems like one of these bizarre health and safety matters that’s bordering on ridiculous.” Mr Wood fell near Swadlincote bus station in Civic Way.
He banged his head and, although his injuries were not serious, he was shocked and confused. A member of the public called an ambulance, which was provided by East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Mr. Wood came forward after reading Mail stories published in recent days about late-arriving ambulances.
“It’s no wonder ambulances are late sometimes if the crews have to wait with people like me for two hours in hospital,” he said. “I don’t mind waiting two hours myself, but people can’t blame ambulance staff for being late if they are waiting in hospitals for no particular reason.”
Mark Powell, the hospital’s interim director of operations, said: “I am extremely sorry for any anxiety and distress that the delay in handover caused Mr Wood.
“Ensuring a smooth and timely handover of patients is obviously of prime importance.
“There were an above average number of patients attending the emergency department that day and as a consequence there was a delay in handing over some patients from ambulance services to the emergency department.
“When demand on the emergency department is high and we receive an increase in emergency 999 calls, we do experience delays in hospital staff being able to accept the clinical handover.”
Mr. Powell added: “We work closely with our ambulance colleagues to improve handover and turnaround times, but we ask that the public take some responsibility too by only using A&E or dialling 999 when they are they are seriously injured or showing symptoms of critical illness.”