Concerns over ambulance handover times


An action plan has been drawn up after concerns were raised about delays in transferring patients from ambulances into hospital .

According to figures, from April to June 2013, there have been 389 ambulance handover delays of more than 30 minutes - 47 of these were over 60 minutes.

A new target requires patients to be handed over to A&E staff within 15 minutes,

The figures are included in a report set to be discussed at a board meeting of Doncaster’s Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for many health services in the town.

A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are jointly responsible with Yorkshire Ambulance Service for efficient patient handover.

“DBH and partner agencies have been working closely to streamline this process, including the introduction of electronic information systems that make sure everyone knows exactly when an ambulance is on the way, when it’s expected to arrive and its current handover status.”

As a result ambulance turnaround times ‘have improved significantly’ in the last six weeks, she added.

From April to June 2013 on average 16 turnarounds a month took over 60 minutes. The spokesman said since the changes had been implement the figure has reduced to one or two and there had been similar reductions in the number of turnarounds taking 30 to 60 minutes.

The 15-minute handover target is a new requirement imposed on hospital trusts by the Government this year.

Fines of £200 can be imposed for delays over 30 minutes and £1,000 for delays of over an hour but Doncaster CCG has not yet imposed fines on the health trust.

However, the CCG is keeping a close eye on the figures.

According to papers set to be discussed today at the CCG Board meeting it states; “The local action plan continues to be monitored through the Urgent Care Board and further actions will be taken as required.”

David Williams, deputy director of operations at YAS said it was working closely with colleagues to minimise turnaround delays.