Patients who have been assessed and deemed ambulance service appropriate, are not receiving a timely response from that service. Hospital A&E departments are using ambulance vehicles as an inappropriate ward (patients being kept on the back of ambulances), delaying patient handovers, and delaying the timely response to the next patient waiting in the community. The risk to the unseen, unexamined patient being so much greater.
An appropriate ward, staffed by volunteers and a mixture of ambulance and hospital staff, should be provided at every hospital unable to cope with the pressures they are currently under. If a patient‚’s condition should deteriorate during this pre-handover period, the staff present could highlight this to the triage nurse, ensuring a timely escalation in care. The elderly faller with a fractured hip in the community would then get a more timely ‚’eyes-on‚’, and a commencement of treatment, reducing the huge risk of extended community delays.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the pressures on the NHS ambulance services and A&E departments, so by minimising Ambulance crew‚’s times babysitting patients on their vehicles outside hospitals, the delays to the unseen patient would also be minimised.