HOSPITAL bosses say they do not have a problem with ambulance waiting times as NHS bosses meet to discuss excessive delays at facilities across the North-East.
A high-ranking summit was held yesterday at the headquarters of the North East Ambulance Service, which runs services in Hartlepool and East Durham, to discuss excessive waiting times as paramedics transfer patients into the care of hospitals across the region.
Alan Foster, the chief executive of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, was involved in the talks that were launched over concerns that some ambulances have been waiting to transfer patients for more than two hours.
Government targets stipulate that 95 per cent of patients have to be seen, treated, admitted or discharged within four hours of being taken to hospital.
But figures show that on 87 occasions ambulances queued for more than two hours, 626 times they queued for between one and two hours and as many as 14 ambulances have queued outside hospitals on several occasions.
The ambulance service said queues happen most at James Cook University Hospital, The University Hiospital of North Durham and at the City Hospitals Sunderland trust.
But bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, said they do not have a problem and their average times are better than the Government’s target.
A trust spokeswoman said waiting times are not just dependent on how an A&E department is running as it is also affected by other departments like x-ray and emergency medical wards.
She added: “We don’t have a problem with ambulance handover times, we are efficient and work well.
“We are constantly well over the 95 per cent, we are usually running at about 97 or 98 per cent.
“We do it not just because A&E works well, but because all our departments work well together and we have new ways or working to get patients seen and assessed quickly.
“It is very important that the whole of the health community work together.”