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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Helena Vesty

Queues of 10 ambulances outside A&E after this week's '19-hour waits'

Queues of up to 10 ambulances have been spotted outside one Greater Manchester A&E department as delays at hospitals continue across the country. The queue at Tameside Hospital comes after patients were left outraged as waiting times climbed from ‘11 hours’ to '19 hours' over the course of a morning on Wednesday (October 26).

Eyewitnesses at Tameside Hospital today (October 28) told of how ambulances parked directly outside A&E were met with more ambulances lining up in overflow areas around the department. Tameside and Glossop NHS Foundation Trust's website warns with an alert: "Our emergency department is very busy. Please consider if ED is the best place for your situation."

The 10 ambulances seen at around 2pm were lining 'both sides of the road and up the road as there was no room for all of them outside the A&E', said one passer-by.

READ MORE: NHS says delays in discharging patients is increasing pressure on services as Greater Manchester's hospitals see 'very high' A&E numbers

At around 3.30am on Wednesday, the waiting time for Tameside Hospital’s A&E was 11 hours, a patient has said. "11 hours waiting in Tameside A&E. Sick people lying on the floor vomiting, senior citizens clearly with dementia waiting hours just to be triaged,” they told the M.E.N.

“Sick people wait to see a doctor for hours not even being offered a glass of water.”

Later that morning, just before 11am, another patient said the A&E waiting time at Tameside had risen to 19 hours. The patient said: “It’s a disgrace.”

The emergency department is experiencing ‘unprecedented pressure’ much like other hospitals across the country, said Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital.

Tameside Hospital has faced '19 hour' A&E waits this week (STEVE ALLEN)

A trust spokesperson said on Wednesday: “The emergency department at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, like many others in the country, is experiencing unprecedented pressure. Whilst we endeavour to treat everyone as quickly as possible clinical care is prioritised for those patients with life threatening conditions who require immediate interventions.

“When the number of this category of patients is high then the waiting times for less clinically urgent patients becomes extended. We are currently in a high level of escalation and are supporting the A&E teams with additional staff.

“As with other trusts we are experiencing difficulties in discharging patients who are medically fit to go home, which results in delays for those patients who are waiting in our A&E department. We continue to work with our out of hospital providers to ensure we can facilitate patient discharges back into the community where it is safe to do so.

“The trust is committed to providing high standards of care across the organisation and we have taken the comments made by this patient very seriously.

Tameside Hospital (Manchester Evening News)

“We would like to take this opportunity to advise members of the public to only attend our emergency department if they really need to, patients can get advice on the right place for them to access care by calling 111.”

A North West Ambulance Service spokesperson said earlier this year, when ambulances were seen stacking up in similar sized queues: “Our staff are continuing to work very hard under extreme pressure to ensure that everyone who needs an ambulance gets one.

“As always, the public can assist by only calling 999 in life-threatening emergencies, and consider if other options including NHS 111 online, GPs and pharmacies may be more appropriate.”

Tameside Hospital and North West Ambulance Service have been approached for further response.

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