Posted: Sat 8th Jun 2024

Welsh Government urged to act over potential ambulance delays to major incidents

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The Welsh Government has been urged to act to ensure ambulance crews can respond to major incidents such as terror attacks.

It follows a stark warning recently issued by senior Welsh Ambulance Service officials that their ability to reach serious incidents could be hindered by hospital handover delays.

A report to members of the NHS trust’s board published last month highlighted the risk of “catastrophic harm” to members of the public if crews are tied up outside emergency departments.

Concerns were raised after the service carried out a mass-casualty simulation exercise, which found it would have failed to provide an adequate response in three out of four scenarios.

The tests were conducted in the wake of the public inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing, which identified a catalogue of failings by emergency services in the aftermath of the attack.

The issue of handover delays and their impact on the Welsh Ambulance Service’s ability to respond to major incidents was raised with ministers in the Senedd on Wednesday (June 5, 2024).

Speaking in the chamber, Altaf Hussain, Conservative MS for South West Wales said: “Last week, the Welsh Ambulance Services University NHS Trust warned that handover delays, which are in part due to a lack of social care staff, will impact the service’s ability to respond to major incidents, including terrorist attacks.

“Whatever the problem with our NHS, we could always rely upon it in a national emergency, but now, even that is not certain.

“What steps are you taking to eliminate handover delays and allow ambulance crews to respond to major incidents?”

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