St Helens NHS Trust avoids surge in ambulance arrivals for the New Year

FIGURES have revealed the NHS Trust of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals was one of the few trusts to have avoided a spike in New Year’s Day ambulance arrivals this year.

Data from NHS England shows January 1st was slightly quieter for ambulance arrivals at the Trust this year – 78 patients arrived by ambulance, down 1.9 per cent from the average for the previous two weeks.

But before the pandemic – on January 1, 2020, just before the coronavirus hit the UK – there was a spike, with 24.8 per cent more ambulances arriving than the average for the two weeks before.

Across England, 12,500 people arrived in hospitals in ambulances on January 1, up 4.6 per cent – before the pandemic there was an 11.2 per cent increase on New Year’s Day.

Those requiring emergency transport to hospitals this year will face additional complications as ambulance delays across England reach an all-time high.

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Rescue workers are set to go on strike across England on January 11-23, after the cancellation of a strike due to take place on December 28 to allow people “to enjoy Christmas without added fear”.

The strikes will come in the context of similar actions by nurses who will go on strike on January 18-19 after going out for two days in December.

Figures show that across England between December 19 and 25, the last seven days for which figures were released, 19.9 per cent of 70,000 arrivals were held in ambulances for an hour or more. Another 17.5 percent were detained for between 30 minutes and an hour.

In the same period last year, 3.4 percent were detained for more than an hour and 9.7 percent for between 30 and 60 minutes.

The same picture emerged at St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Trust – where 27 per cent of arrivals this year faced a delay of one hour, up from 5.1 per cent on the same data a year ago. Another 19.8 percent had to expect a waiting time of half an hour or longer this year – last year it was 13.1 percent on these days.

An NHS spokesman said: “The NHS has seen record demand for emergency care in recent months which is likely to continue into the new year. Therefore, it is important that the public use emergency services wisely.

“This means continuing to call 999 for life-threatening emergencies and use 111 online for other health needs, where you can get advice on the best next steps.” St Helens NHS Trust avoids surge in ambulance arrivals for the New Year

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