David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce incidences of ambulance stacking attributable to a shortage of nursing staff and beds in accident and emergency departments.
Simon Burns (The Minister of State, Department of Health; Chelmsford, Conservative)
Local health care organisations know the health care needs and priorities of their local populations. They are best placed to determine the workforce required to deliver safe patient care within their available resources.
The Department expects accident and emergency services and NHS ambulance services to be able to respond to varying workloads at different times and under varying pressures. The Department recommends that local health partners work closely together to draw up contingency arrangements to ensure that the national health service can cope efficiently and that trusts and strategic health authorities take urgent local action to ensure escalation plans include robust action to avoid ambulances queuing and therefore not to delay ambulance handover times.