Medics savage 'insane' plans for A&E 'arrival lounges' to ease ambulance crisis


Medics savage ‘insane’ plans for A&E ‘arrival lounges’ to ease ambulance crisis so patients are not waiting in the back of emergency vehicles

  • Some hospitals are trialling ‘lounges’ as a place for ambulances to drop patients 
  • Severely ill patients have been forced to wait in the back of the vehicles for hours
  • 35,000 patients waited for more than an hour in the ambulance in September
  • But doctors say this is moving the problem rather than tackling it 


Doctors last night described plans for airport-style ‘arrival lounges’ to be set up at hospitals to ease the ambulance crisis as ‘insane’.

Some London hospitals are trialling the lounges as a place for ambulances to drop off patients waiting to be admitted into A&E as an alternative to keeping them stuck in the back of the vehicle.

In recent weeks, severely ill patients have been forced to wait in the vehicles for up to 12 hours outside overwhelmed A&Es.

Ambulances are supposed to hand patients over to the hospital within 15 minutes of arriving – but 35,000 patients waited for more than an hour in September. 

In recent weeks, severely ill patients have been forced to wait in the vehicles for up to 12 hours outside overwhelmed A&Es (pictured: St. Thomas Hospital in London)

In recent weeks, severely ill patients have been forced to wait in the vehicles for up to 12 hours outside overwhelmed A&Es (pictured: St. Thomas Hospital in London)

This has led to concerns that patients are coming to harm, with the queues linked to two deaths last week. 

NHS bosses have now ordered hospitals to ‘eliminate’ ambulance queues and to stop using the vehicles as emergency department ‘cubicles’.

In response, some A&Es in London are trialling the arrival lounges in unused parts of hospitals, freeing up ambulances to respond to other 999 calls. 

But doctors said the plans are ‘insanity’. 

Doctors last night described plans for airport-style ‘arrival lounges’ to be set up at hospitals to ease the ambulance crisis as ‘insane’ (pictured: Luton Airport)

Doctors last night described plans for airport-style ‘arrival lounges’ to be set up at hospitals to ease the ambulance crisis as ‘insane’ (pictured: Luton Airport)

Last night Dr Susan Crossland, of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: ‘What is being proposed is effectively an ambulance in a room and is therefore moving the problem rather than tackling it. 

‘Quite where the additional staff will come from, given the already massive pressures being faced by staff in ambulance services and hospitals, remains to be seen.’

Dr Linda Dykes, an A&E consultant, said the plans were ‘beyond stupidity and verging on insanity’, adding: ‘Expanding emergency departments without a magic staff tree will result in dead patients.’

Health chiefs last night urged people to go online and use the 111 service if they need care instead of rushing to A&E units.

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