Ambulances diverted away from Preston A&E amid 'quite a backlog' of patients
Ambulances have been diverted away from Royal Preston Hospital as medics and casualty staff work to clear a backlog of patients.
Paramedics have reported being turned away at the door after arriving at the emergency department, and said the move is 'putting a huge strain on other hospitals that are already struggling'.
A hospital spokeswoman said 'appropriate' patients were being diverted to Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital 'because of a backlog', but said A&E remains open and has not closed.
"Never has a hospital around here been on divert," one NHS worker told the Post this afternoon, describing the situation as 'absolutely crazy'.
"A&E is really quiet; it must be the wards. They have turned numerous ambulances away."
Chorley’s A&E closed in April last year becasue of a shortage of doctors. It reopened in January, but only for 12 hours a day.
In a report published earlier this year, the College of Paramedics explained the effect A&E diverts have on ambulance services - and patients.
National spokesman and practising senior paramedic Richard Webber said: "Diverts from A&E departments have an impact on paramedics’ ability to reach seriously ill and injured patients in an appropriate time frame.
"While we are sympathetic to hospitals that are forced to implement diverts so that they don’t reach dangerous levels of overcrowding, in non-urban areas in particular the extra time taken to reach more distant A&E departments is significant.
"There is a ‘double whammy’ in that not only do crews have to drive further away once a divert is implemented – once that’s happened, an ambulance crew will then also need to travel further to get back to their own area to respond to the next emergency call.”
The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has been contacted for a comment.
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