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Patients 'facing long delays in ambulances outside A&E'

Labour has criticised hospitals as "too full" after figures claimed almost 300,000 ambulances were left queuing outside hospitals last year.

One patient in the West Midlands was forced to wait for eight hours and 11 minutes, the party claimed.

The Department of Health described the delays as "unacceptable", insisting progress was being made in reducing waiting times.

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Almost 300,000 ambulances 'left queuing outside A&E'

Labour has criticised hospitals as "too full" after figures claimed almost 300,000 ambulances were left queuing outside hospitals last year.

Credit: PA Wire

A patient was forced to wait for eight hours and 11 minutes in the West Midlands in the worst "handover delay", while another in the south west faced a seven and a half hour delay, research by Labour found.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request found 279,207 ambulances were delayed for more than 30 minutes, with a further 30,601 waiting longer than one hour.

"Handover delays" occur when emergency wards are too busy to accept new patients due to staff or bed shortages, leading to patients facing delays in ambulances.

Shadow health minister Jamie Reed said the crisis in A&E departments was forcing "vulnerable patients" to be held in the back of ambulances.

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