"Is this an efficient use of paramedic time?"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as a relative),

I arrived at A&E on a recent afternoon, accompanying my Father-in-law, who was brought by emergency ambulance from Crawley.

I was amazed to see a further SEVEN ambulances parked outside and FOURTEEN paramedics inside reception with the patients they had delivered. On questioning the paramedics, each crew were there for an average time of 90 minutes, I was informed that their responsibility toward their patient ended when they saw the Doctor.

The patients were kept on the Ambulance stretcher all this time which effectively rendered the Ambulance and crew useless for its primary task. This resulted in the active emergency response vehicles for the Redhill area being reduced in total by EIGHT.

This surely is a massive waste of resources/money. Even the paramedics were frustrated with this situation, which apparently occurs regularly at this hospital.

Surely there is a solution, providing hospital stretchers and a receptionist/nurse to process patients and relieve the paramedics and equipment for their primary task?

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Response from Eloise Clarke, Communications Manager, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear 'Smiggit'

Thank you for your feedback. I’d like to assure you that the hospital works hard with the ambulance service along with others across the region to keep the time it takes to handover a patient to a minimum but this is a particularly busy time of the year.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) monitors turnaround times at all receiving hospitals using live data so that any pressures in the system are picked up by our control rooms and appropriate action taken. Under normal circumstances the total turnaround time of should be under 30 minutes.

Turnaround time means the time the ambulance arrives at the hospital grounds to the time the ambulance becomes available to respond to another call and includes not only the time it takes the staff to clinically hand over the patient to A & E staff but also to prepare the vehicle for the next incident as necessary.

There are times when demand is high across the healthcare system, so there can be delays in turnaround time. Delays in turnaround times are reviewed at review meetings when particular issues are identified.


Eloise Clarke

Communications Manager

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