We are asked to divert when demand has been ‘significantly high’ – EMAS

EMAS say they are asked to divert and they are experiencing delays in handovers at A&E departments.
EMAS say they are asked to divert and they are experiencing delays in handovers at A&E departments.

The man in charge of the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) for Lincolnshire has admitted patients are sometimes diverted to other hospitals.

EMAS says diverts over Christmas were between Lincoln County and Boston rather than to Grimsby.

Ambulance

Ambulance

But the ambulance service hasn’t answered our question on whether 15 ambulances queued at accident and emergency (A&E) at Pilgrim over Christmas.

Andy Hill, EMAS paramedic and general manager for Lincolnshire, said: “When demand on the hospitals has been significantly high we have been asked to divert so our patient can receive care at another hospital facility.

“The divert request only applies to patients who are not already en route to the facility experiencing high demand.

“We have experienced delays in A&E colleagues being able to accept clinical handover from our ambulance crews.

“Inevitably this delay means our crews are not able to get back to their vehicle as quickly as we’d like to check and clean it and ‘book clear’ and respond to the next 999 call.

“We are helping the hospitals manage this situation by providing a HALO (hospital ambulance liaison officer) at the relevant emergency department when extra pressure is being experienced.”

United Lincolnshire’s A&E departments and EMAS have been handling a massive increase in the number of patients during December and over Christmas.

In December, EMAS received 15,530 calls in Lincolnshire alone from people needing emergency or urgent help.

Of those calls, 13,727 received “a face-to-face ambulance response” – and 58 per cent of those that received the response went to hospital.

The remaining 42 per cent were assessed or treated at the scene, but some were deemed “inappropriate and shouldn’t have come through the 999 system”.

Mr Hill said: “The increase in calls has put incredible pressure on the whole health system and inevitably that has meant that unfortunately some patients have experienced delays, particularly when their condition is not life-threatening or serious.”

He asked residents “to use the NHS wisely” and to find out about local health services on www.nhs.uk.