West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin met with the local ambulance service chief following constituents telling her about serious delays attending incidents and handing over patients at the main county hospital.
West Midlands Ambulance Service chief executive Anthony Marsh confirmed that although ambulance handovers are supposed to take just 15 minutes, the average waiting time at Worcestershire Royal Hospital is over two hours with many patients waiting much longer.
Professor Marsh advised patients who don’t need urgent care to seek expert advice by dialling 111 before turning up at the over-stretched A&E departments.
Worcestershire Royal Hospital will open up a brand-new £15 million Emergency Department later in the year to add extra capacity and speed up handovers of patients arriving in ambulances.
But patients are also encouraged to ring 111 to get expert advice and Minor Injuries Units are available at the county’s community hospitals to help people access care for less serious injuries.
GP surgeries are also returning to normal operation, seeing patients as they did before the pandemic, allowing people to get advice and treatment locally to them.
“I’ve heard some terrible stories in recent weeks about intolerable delays of people waiting for ambulances and I discussed my concerns with the chief executive of the West Midlands Ambulance Trust last week.
“I also get regular updates from the Worcestershire Royal Hospital managers and it is clear that there are serious systemic delays for both patients getting into A&E and discharging patients safely to create bed capacity.
“The new Emergency Department can’t come soon enough but while we are waiting, it is essential that we get the message out that there are other options for people who don’t need urgent care.
“I have been reassured by the Clinical Commissioning Group that GP practices ae now back to normal operations and there is always plenty of daytime capacity at the Minor Injuries Units at our community hospitals.
“Local people can do their bit by helping out too and this is an important message to share. Please only attend A&E if it is an emergency and help to take the pressure of a very busy Emergency Department and a very stretched ambulance service.”