Ambulances queue at Hereford hospital as NHS pressure mounts

AMBULANCES have been pictured queued outside Hereford County Hospital as demand on the NHS continues to grow.

Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, urged people to only go to its accident and emergency department for urgent treatment as seven ambulances were seen parked up on Tuesday, August 10.

Government figures show that there were 11 coronavirus patients being treated at the trust by 8am – the latest data available.

That was one higher than the same day the previous week, and the highest number on one day since March.

A spokesperson said the County Hospital was “extremely busy” and told anyone who turned up wanting non-urgent treatment they could face a “long wait” as the most sick patients were being prioritised.

Jon Barnes, chief operating officer at the trust, said all staff were working “incredibly hard” and doing everything they could to ensure patients received “appropriate and safe care”.

It comes after West Midlands Ambulance Service’s busiest ever month as 999 calls surged to a new high.

Figures showed the average response time for the most serious 999 calls in the West Midlands was seven minutes and 46 seconds in July – missing the seven-minute target.

The ambulance service also missed targets for ‘category two’ calls – which include emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks and major burns – recording a 30-minute average response in July and above the 18-minute target.

The service had record-breaking July taking 162,574 calls – more than a third more than it did in the same month in 2019.

A spokesman said crews were working “flat out” and the service was working with hospitals to reduce handover delays.

The NHS said 999 should only be used in life-threatening emergencies, and said to use 111 in other circumstances to find care.

Hereford Times