Jan 30 2013 By Cheryl Mullin
HOSPITAL accident and emergency departments are overstretched and understaffed with patients forced to wait in ambulances just to gain admission, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said.
Mr Burnham called on the Government to ensure there are enough staff “on the ground” to provide safe care.
“I think at the moment A&E is overstretched and understaffed,” he told ITV Daybreak.
“All over the country, we are hearing reports this winter of patients spending hours on trolleys.
“The Government is missing its own lowered national A&E target - and also stories of patients held in queues in ambulances outside the A&E, can’t even get in the A&E because the staff aren’t there to admit them.
“We are going to release details later today of one patient in the west of England held for five hours and 42 minutes in the back of an ambulance outside an A&E.
“This is because they do not have enough staff on the ground to function properly, to bring the patients in.”
Mr Burnham’s remarks come as the Labour Party is due to publish its sixth NHS Check report, giving details of winter pressures and “crisis” in A&E departments.