Advising with empathy and experience

Worcester Hospital ambulance delays.

A hospital's patients faced "significant risk of harm on a daily basis", ambulance service bosses have warned.

In private letters to the trust running Worcestershire Royal Hospital, they blamed delays in getting people off ambulances and into the site.

In the correspondence - obtained by the BBC through a Freedom of Information request - the hospital was also said to risk a "catastrophic situation".

The trust said the experience of some patients was not what it wanted.

Director of clinical commissioning for West Midlands Ambulance Service, Mark Docherty, wrote twice to Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust chief executive Michelle McKay in 2018.

He claimed that during the first 16 days of February, 215 ambulances had spent more than an hour waiting outside the hospital.

And he said that on 16 February, 10 ambulances waited more than three hours to take patients inside.

He said: "I believe that Worcestershire Royal Hospital is now at a level of concern that requires immediate and radical action if we are to avoid a catastrophic situation."

He also claimed that the problem had deteriorated during the last three years and it had been suggested that tents could be erected as a field hospital to ensure safety.

A similar measure had been floated during the 16 February incident, but was not deployed.

According to national guidelines, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is expected to deal with 95% of patients who attend A and E within four hours, but the BBC said that on 16 February it dealt with 47% in four hours.

The trust said that increases in patients coming through emergency departments, and a higher-than-expected number of "seriously ill patients arriving by ambulance every day" meant periods of considerable pressure.”

A statement added: "We have not been able to accept patient handovers from ambulance colleagues as promptly as we would have wanted.

"We also recognise that the experience of patients in some of these areas was not what we would want it to be."