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More than 3,000 patients in south east wait more than hour in ambulances outside A&E

By KentOnline reporter

Thousands of patients in the south east waited in ambulances for more than an hour before being admitted to A&E last year, new figures reveal.

In the South East Coast Ambulance Service area, 25,298 patients had to wait more than 30 minutes, with 3,047 waiting more than an hour. The longest wait was four hours and 15 minutes.

These delays occur when ambulance crews cannot transfer a patient to an A&E department because of staff or bed shortages.

Ambulance crew was at the scene. Stock picture.

Government targets stipulate new arrivals should enter hospital within 15 minutes and ambulance trusts record delays of more than 30 minutes.

The risk management papers for the South East Coast Ambulance Service reveal fears the hold ups “delay the availability of crews to respond to new incidents, some of which will be life threatening.”

The South East Coast Ambulance Service covers Kent along with Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, and North East Hampshire,

The figures came to light following a Freedom of Information request by the Labour Party.

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