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Delayed ED handover linked to patient deaths, ambulance crews' union claims

GMB says longer waiting times for paramedics handing patients over are 'a terrible indictment'
ambulances

GMB says longer waiting times before members can hand patients over are 'a terrible indictment'

More than 120 people have died since 2014 in hospital emergency departments during handover from ambulance crews.

There was also a 52% rise in harmful or potentially harmful incidents between 2014 and 2017.

The figures come from a Freedom of Information request by the GMB trade union, which represents ambulance workers.

GMB members will vote on a motion at the unions Public Services Section Conference tomorrow (Sunday), calling for a review of the emergency handover process. However, the RCN has said the situation will only truly improve when A&Es are safely staffed and patients can move to appropriate areas of care.

Longer handover times

The GMB data revealed that between 1 January 2014 and 31 March 2018 279 people experienced severe

GMB says longer waiting times before members can hand patients over are 'a terrible indictment'


Picture: Neil O'Connor

More than 120 people have died since 2014 in hospital emergency departments during handover from ambulance crews.

There was also a 52% rise in harmful or potentially harmful incidents between 2014 and 2017.

The figures come from a Freedom of Information request by the GMB trade union, which represents ambulance workers.

GMB members will vote on a motion at the union’s Public Services Section Conference tomorrow (Sunday), calling for a review of the emergency handover process. However, the RCN has said the situation will only ‘truly improve when A&Es are safely staffed and patients can move to appropriate areas of care’.

Longer handover times

The GMB data revealed that between 1 January 2014 and 31 March 2018 279 people experienced severe harm and 4,461 people experienced harm or died.

GMB national officer Kevin Brandstatter said: ‘Members continuously complain of lengthening times to hand patients over to A&E departments, leading to longer response times for 999 calls. It puts enormous strain and stress on people who are already working to the absolute limit.

‘This is a terrible indictment of the lack of investment in the NHS.’

Mr Brandstatter called it a ‘national scandal’ and said he laid the blame firmly with the government.

Overcrowded, understaffed EDs

RCN professional lead for emergency, acute and critical care Nicola Ashby said: ‘These figures show the very sad consequences of the overloaded and understaffed emergency departments.

'England’s A&Es are too often left to run with a reduction in nursing staff and patients can pay the very highest price.

‘If the nurses on shift are dealing with vast numbers of acutely or critically ill individuals, they cannot walk away to accept yet more from the ambulance crews. Consequently, this delays the return of the paramedic crews to the roads, while they wait in corridors with those patients.’

But, Ms Ashby said additional stresses on the service were caused by inappropriate attendances, when people should have consulted a walk-in centre or GP.


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