Ambulances queue as no beds at hospital

IPSWICH Hospital was on black alert again today after ambulances lined the entrance to the hospital, filled with patients needing treatment.At one point yesterday more than a third of all the ambulances in operation in Suffolk were parked at the Heath Road hospital as both the ambulance service and hospital were stretched to capacity.

IPSWICH Hospital was on black alert again today after ambulances lined the entrance to the hospital, filled with patients needing treatment.

At one point yesterday more than a third of all the ambulances in operation in Suffolk were parked at the Heath Road hospital as both the ambulance service and hospital were stretched to capacity.

In the hospital the problem was partly caused by dozens of 'bed-blockers' - patients ready to be discharged but with nowhere to go.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: “We had a really, really busy afternoon which isn't unusual on a Monday. But this was exceptionally busy.

“The treatment bays in the hospital were actually full of people who needed to be seen because we were so busy.

“We do everything we can to ensure patients only stay in hospital for as long as they absolutely need.

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“We are working really closely with our colleagues in social care and primary care to make sure no one suffers a delay in their transfer of care.

“There are a lot of complex factors that are involved but there is a recognition that we all need to go further and faster to make sure people leave the hospital when they should.”

Ms Rowsell added that Monday was always a busier day at the hospital because many ill people wait until after the weekend to see their GP and be admitted to hospital.

This view was echoed by Matthew Ware, spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service.

He said: “It was incredibly busy, not in terms of 999 calls but in terms of GP urgent calls.

“These are calls such as a broken hip, a stroke, another hip problem.

“On Monday afternoon it is always busy at GPs' surgeries and then the GPs call us.”

He said at about 5pm yesterday there had been seven ambulances at Ipswich Hospital out of a total of 19 on the road in the whole of Suffolk. He added that the number could have been even higher at other times.

He said: “We need the ambulances out there so it makes life difficult for us. But we work with the hospital to make sure we treat everyone.”

Were you waiting in an ambulance outside Ipswich Hospital yesterday or do you have a relative in hospital with nowhere to go? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.