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London Ambulance Service (LAS) performance winter 2019-20

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Onkar Sahota Onkar Sahota Labour

At your regular meetings with the chiefs of LAS, what explanation have they given for the historically high numbers of ambulances stuck outside hospital A&E departments, unable to hand over their patient, this winter?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

The NHS has been facing increasing demand and added pressure this winter. Colder weather brings a mix of bugs and respiratory conditions that affect patients and staff, causing a significant spike in hospital handover delays.

LAS is working closely with all parts of the NHS to minimise delays at Emergency Departments (EDs) by reducing the number of patients conveyed to hospital using ‘Hear & Treat’ (being treated over the phone) and ‘See & Treat’ (discharged at the scene). 7,327 more patients were treated this way in November and December compared to the previous year, enabling patients to avoid unnecessary admissions with a decrease of 1,406 patients conveyed to EDs by ambulance.

LAS is also deploying paramedics at the most challenged EDs to help manage handover-delayed patients and working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to support the exemplar hospital handover programme across five London sites, to strengthen handover performance and spread best practice.