2011 Ebrill 8 12:00 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will expose an example of the waste and inefficiency of Labour and Plaid Cymru in government on each day of the Welsh general election campaign

Shocking figures uncovered by the Welsh Liberal Democrats in January revealed that tens of thousands of hours of emergency ambulance cover are being lost in Welsh NHS hospitals while crews wait to hand patients over to hospital staff.

Over the last two years, an outrageous 80,404 hours (3350 days or 9 years) have been wasted while ambulances are waiting to discharge their patients.

Guidelines set by the Health Minister currently state that the wait to hand over responsibility of a patient to nursing staff should be no longer than 20 minutes, but the target is clearly not being met.

Across Wales, the Royal Gwent Hospital was the worst performer amassing a staggering 15,909 lost hours with Morriston Hospital following with 11,962 lost hours and UHW wasting 9,986 hours. The Welsh Ambulance Service calculates that the cost of a 'lost unit hour' is £76 which means that time wasted in A&E hospitals cost the NHS over £6,000,000 over past two years.

Apart from causing distress to the patient waiting to be transferred to the A&E department, pressure is put on ambulance crews to respond to other emergency calls in the area.

Ed Townsend, Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Newport East said:

""These figures are absolutely shocking. This proves that there is inbuilt failure in the way the Welsh NHS handles emergency situations. Month after month, we see that patients in Wales have to wait an unacceptable amount of time for ambulances to respond to emergency call-outs and now we see that ambulances have to wait an unacceptable amount of time to transfer patients and get back on the road to respond to emergency calls.

"On top of the staggering wasted ambulances hours across Wales, it is estimated that over £6 million was lost to the Welsh NHS over the last two years because of queuing ambulances. We should be looking for savings in the NHS not wasting money.

"During the Welsh General Election campaign the Welsh Liberal Democrats will expose examples of waste and inefficiency of the Labour-Plaid government during their four years in government.

"When every family, charity and business is having to make every pound stretch that little bit further, Wales needs a government that does the same. Labour and Plaid Cymru have made waste, incompetence and inefficiency into an art form."

"It is unacceptable that money is being wasted like this."

Notes to editors:

1. An example of Labour-Plaid waste will be revealed on each day of the election campaign at noon. Look out for tomorrow's!

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