A Plaid Cymru MS has said it is “unacceptable” that ambulance crews have spent an average of more than 2,000 hours a month waiting outside a flagship hospital since it opened.
Figures released by the Welsh Ambulance Service show the scale of how long ambulances have been left languishing outside The Grange Hospital near Cwmbran.
Peredur Owen Griffiths, who is a Plaid Cymru MS for the South Wales East region, said the Labour Government needed to get a grip on the situation ahead of anticipated extreme winter pressures later this year.
The hospital was opened in November 2020 six months early in response to the Covid-19 pandemic but was not officially opened by the Labour First Minister until August 2021.
Since the hospital started admitted patients in November 2020, ambulances have spent more than 2,000 hours waiting outside every month bar three.
In one month alone, ambulance crews lost 3,155 hours.
The Welsh Ambulance Service is currently changing the ways it operates and is placing more emphasis on looking after more people in the community. They are also looking to develop the range of skills their staff have to prevent unnecessary trips to hospital.
Peredur Owen Griffiths said the delays were a waste of vital resources and were detrimental to patient health and wellbeing.
“These delays for patients and ambulance crews are unacceptable” said Peredur.
“The ambulance service is stretched by the inability of hospitals like The Grange to admit patients in a timely fashion.
“With ambulances routinely lined up outside The Grange, this inevitably causes lengthy delays in response times for people who need ambulances in emergencies.
“I feel for the patients, the ambulance crews and indeed the hospital staff who are receiving patients who are often fed up and frustrated after being made to wait in ambulances for inordinate amounts of time.”
Peredur added: “The deepening cost-of-living crisis is likely to have a huge impact on the NHS with more and more people being forced into poverty and hunger this winter.
“The system failures that are causing ambulances to languish outside The Grange for hours on end need to be remedied and fast.
“I am calling on the Labour Health Minister to order an urgent review into this huge waste of resources throughout the health service in Wales.
“She needs to get a grip on the situation and identify solutions so our cherished health service is better prepared for the onslaught that is heading its way this winter.”
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