PERFORMANCE: Long delays in ambulance turnaround times at hospitals are to be reported as potential serious incidents in the East of England.

The ambulance service failed to meet the 19 minute response time targets in August and says this is affected by the delays some ambulances encounter in handing over patients at hospitals.

Up to six per cent of ambulances are being delayed for 60 minutes or more at hospitals in the region, which can mean demand for ambulances in some areas outstrips the available supply as vehicles queue to hand over patients. Although the issue is being tackled by various trusts, the average ‘trolley clear’ time is still nearly 18 minutes.

The ambulance trust is now setting up tripartite agreements across the region and has held a summit on handovers. Now it is planning to report all 60 minute handovers as potential serious incidents for the acute trusts involved.