Ambulance delays still worst in UK despite improvement

Ambulances queuing up
The percentage of patients waiting more than half an hour in an ambulance at Royal Cornwall Hospital fell from 87% to 82%

Ambulance handover delays in the south west remain the worst in the country despite improvements, according to the latest data.

NHS England said Royal Cornwall Hospital had 82% of patients waiting more than half an hour in the back of an ambulance, a fall of 5%.

The number of patients waiting at Derriford in Plymouth has also improved by one percent to 80%.

However, ambulance delays at Torbay Hospital have risen to 72%.

The BBC has contacted all three trusts for comment.

A spokesperson for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly health and care system said: "Ambulance delays represent pressure not only on the main emergency department but across the entire health and care system.

"We have seen growing demand since the start of this year and throughout the time we were in a system critical incident.

"This winter we're providing more alternative health and care services locally to reduce the need for hospital admissions, so we can look after our people nearer and in the comfort of their homes."

In a statement, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said: "We want to reassure the public that patients are prioritised in order of clinical need as they arrive at our Emergency Department.

It added that the hospital's "urgent and emergency care service continues to see increased demand".

The hospital said it had taken measures to reduce the impact, such as "increasing bed capacity both in Derriford Hospital and across community sites", and "increasing the availability of Same Day Emergency Care".

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