PERFORMANCE: Ambulances spent nearly 300 days waiting outside hospitals to hand over responsibility for patients in the last quarter of 2012-13, the board of the North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust heard.

The trust’s performance report revealed that ambulances spent 299 days waiting more than 25 minutes for handover with only 35 per cent being ‘cleared’ within 25 minutes in March.

The trust also saw a small number of cases where ambulances were waiting for more than two hours for handover, although this had declined from a peak of close to 90 in December. The 72 cases in the last quarter have been reported as serious incidents.