Covid: Glasgow QEUH ambulances diverted as A&E admissions soar

Ambulances in Glasgow were diverted at Scotland’s biggest hospital after it reached maximum capacity amid soaring Omicron cases.

Emergency vehicles bound for the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital were being sent to Glasgow Royal Infirmary last night.

An NHS source said the QEUH stopped stopped admitting emergency cases and claimed paramedics were waiting more than eight hours to hand over sick patients.

It comes as new figures showed an estimated one in 20 people were infected with Covid in the week to December 31 – the highest prevalence at any point in the pandemic, and up from one in 40 the previous week.

The number of patients in hospital with the coronavirus has almost doubled since Christmas.

There were 527 patients with the virus in Scottish hospitals on December 25, a figure that now stands at 1,223. The total requiring intensive care has risen to 42 but well below the third-wave peak of 100.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said the longest turnaround time was 5hrs 37 mins and said transfer delays was leading to lengthier waiting times for patients dialling 999.

During busy periods, before the pandemic, patients in need of a bed would lie on trolleys in the corridors around emergency departments until space became available. However this practice now risks exposing patients to Covid-19.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “NHS services have been experiencing significant pressure over the last week, exacerbated by the ongoing Omicron variant.

“These pressures are causing longer hospital turnaround times due to emergency departments being at near or full capacity and this in turn is impacting upon our ability to get crews back out on the road to help patients, leading to lengthier response times. 

 “Health Boards and the Scottish Ambulance Service are working together to try and mitigate wait times through joint escalation plans, and a number of other steps have been introduced to minimise ambulance waiting times, including introducing Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers to manage flow, and increasing alternative care pathways for ambulance clinicians to support patients in the community.”  

The Herald has contacted NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for a response.


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