Ambulance crews are spending up to two hours with patients waiting outside Swindon’s emergency department as the hospital deals with a ‘huge backlog’.
Wiltshire 999s has learnt that this afternoon it’s taking up to 120 minutes for Great Western Hospital to admit casualties from emergency ambulances despite the target transfer time being 15 minutes.
There are approximately 20 ambulances serving the Swindon and the wider North Wiltshire area, but delays mean there are fewer ambulances available to respond to 999 calls.
Nearly half of the town’s ambulances were waiting with patients on board at around 2pm, but the situation has begun to ease after a South Western Ambulance Service (SWAST) liaison officer was sent to the hospital in order to manage the situation.
When the ambulance service is under pressure, it advises people to only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency. If casualties can make their own way to hospital for urgent treatment, they should do so. Find out more about when to call 999 on the SWAST website.
A spokesperson from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are currently experiencing a high number of patients in the Emergency Department, which means that patients arriving by ambulance or as walk-ins might be waiting longer than usual to be seen.
“We would encourage the public to only come to the Emergency Department if they are in a critical or life-threatening condition. Our Urgent Care Centre is also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support patients with more minor conditions.
“If you are collecting somebody from hospital today, please ensure you arrive promptly and have everything ready for their discharge. Please also remember that only one person can come into the hospital to collect a patient.”
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