Hospital chiefs have responded to figures revealing the extent to which ambulances have been waiting outside Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.
In one week last month, 56 ambulances were waiting between 30 and 59 minutes to handover a patient to A&E at the site, while for 18 more it took one to two hours to complete the process.
The Government’s target for this measure, by comparison, is 15 minutes.
The figures have been released by the organisation responsible for the hospital, the United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust (ULHT) following a request from The Standard and relate to the week ending January 18.
The Standard has requested figures for previous weeks, but at the time of going to press these had yet to be provided.
It was during the week ending January 18 that ULHT moved out of ‘black alert’, the highest of four levels that reflect how busy it is.
In response to the figures, Michelle Rhodes, director of operations, said during January the trust and NHS in Lincolnshire faced ‘unprecedented demand on its services’.
She said: “There is a correlation between high demand and a decline in how quickly we can see people.
“The rise in demand can impact across the whole of the patient’s care right up to and including discharge home or to community based services which are also very stretched. Unfortunately this, of course, has knock-on effects for A&Es and ambulance waits.
“The quality and safety of patient care is the trust’s number one priority. We prioritise patients based on clinical need to ensure patients are safe.
“We continue to work with our health partners in the community to help discharge fit patients appropriately but as swiftly as possible.
“This involves using community bed capacity for patients who can be safely discharged from hospital but who are not well enough to be discharged home.”
She added a ‘joint action plan’ was in place between the trust and its partners to reduce its handover times.