Image source, PA Media Image caption, Ambulances transferring patients to the West Midlands earlier this year
Ambulances are forced to queue in front of most emergency departments before they can unload patients, a new investigation suggests.
As per NHS guidelines, ambulance transfers must bee completed within 15 minutes.
But about two-thirds of A&E surveyed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said they struggled to meet the standard every day.
The Department of Health said additional funds were being provided to boost staff numbers in key areas.
RCEM President Dr Katherine Henderson said: "We are facing an emergency care crisis and a patient safety crisis.
Royal College polled Departments A&E across the UK between November 8-14, receiving responses from 70 out of around 230 units.
During this week:
- 94% of clinic directors said ambulances had been held outside their buildings at some point before patients could be taken to hospital
- 61% said ambulances were forced to queue every day
- About half of emergency departments said care was provided to patients in non-medical areas such as that hallways every day
"These results show the seriousness that our urgent and emergency care system is in place, " Dr Henderson said.
"None of us wantof patients being held in ambulances, treated in hallways, or waiting very long to get into a service bed. "
A separate RCEM report, released earlier this month, estimated that 4 519 patients had died after waiting more than 12 hours in emergency departments in England in 2020-2021.
A spokesperson for the English Department of Health said: 'The trusts of ambulance received an additional £ 55million to increase staffing in control rooms and on the front line.
"This adds to our record investment this year, of which 5.4 billion sterling over the next six months to tackle the backlog, as well as £ 36 billion for health and care over the next three years. "