AMBULANCE crews in Wales are 'striving' to get to every call on time but facing an uphill battle due, in part, to handover delays.

That was the view of Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS) chief executive Jason Killens, speaking to the BBC on Thursday morning.

Mr Killens was speaking after a report into the health service in England showed that average waiting times for potentially serious callouts were twice the national standard.

A report into waiting times in Wales was published last month and showed that between April 2020 and March this year, ambulance crews had to wait more than an hour to transfer patients on no fewer than 32,699 occasions.

Data published by Welsh Government of the recorded number of lost hours as a result of hospital handover delays, highlight that in December 2020, a total of 11,542 hours were lost due to handover delays.


Mr Killens said that, on some days, WAS receive "20 to 35 per cent more 999 calls".

This, he said, only compunded the handover delays which then resulted in reduced capacity to respond in the community.

Just last week, an 86-year-old man with advanced Alzheimer’s was kept in an ambulance outside the Grange University Hospital for treatment for more than 13 hours after a fall.

John Higgins was taken to the Grange University Hospital at around 2.15am on Monday, November 1, but was told he could not come into the hospital, instead being treated in the ambulance until his release at around 3.30pm.

"We strive to get to every call as quickly as we can," he said.

"We've got the army back with us for the third time.

"Over the next few months we're looking to get as much capacity back on the streets as we can."

Mr Killens said that the Welsh Ambulance Service was training and deploying people "as quickly as we can" and that record recruitment had been seen in recent months.

Mr Killens also paid tribute to the work of the staff in the ambulance control room for helping to coordinate emergency responses.