A&Es and ambulance services have been under growing pressure in recent years, and statistics play a vital role in monitoring how performance has deteriorated.
This story looked at one element of the interaction between ambulance services and hospitals. An increasing number of handovers from ambulance to A&E taking longer than the recommended 15 minutes is often a sign that A&Es are struggling, with patients already in departments facing waits for treatment or a lack of beds, which in itself may be the impact of lack of resources and high demand in other parts of the hospital.
In order to analyse how long individual handovers had taken I used Freedom of Information requests to build a database of all of the individual handovers, the priority of the call being answered and how long the handover took.
Analysis of this database revealed the huge increases in the number of ambulances facing long waits to handover patients to A&Es – a warning sign that highlights the increasing levels of pressure A&Es have been under in recent years. Working from call level data, meant stories could be produced for a number of papers, showing how local hospitals were faring and revealing the shocking and distressing long waits being faced by some patients.
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