A queue of more than 30 ambulances waiting outside Lister Hospital A&E has raised fears over whether the service can cope with demand.

Ambulances were seen queuing all the way to the main road on Thursday (September 29), leaving residents questioning the cause of the commotion.

Welwyn resident Andy Nation asked whether insufficient funds or sparse facilities were the reason behind the crowded emergency department.

Andy said: “If there are insufficient staff or facilities in Lister A&E then emergency ‘temporary’ arrangements need to be organised. Adam Sewell Jones is the chief rxecutive and the buck stops with him and the other members of his executive team.

“You don’t need 60 ambulance personnel to look after 30 patients as I would suggest few of them need constant critical care.

“A temporary, warm accommodation should be available to offload the patients where they could be attended to by fewer ambulance staff, thus releasing the other ambulance staff and their vehicles to attend other emergencies until A&E can catch up with the backlog.

“All this is, perhaps, the short-sighted fault of the various governments over many years for closing hospitals like the QEII and not doing in-house training of our own doctors and nurses. Adding many levels of ‘management’ does not enable a better volume of nursing.

“Adam Sewell Jones needs to get a grip, think laterally, and take action!”

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) said: “We are working with NHS colleagues to identify ways to reduce hospital handover delays, are also carrying out a number of initiatives to increase our capacity, including:

• Increasing the number of private ambulances we have on-shift.

• Using non-clinical drivers who can team-up with our clinicians to maximise the number of ambulances we have on the road.

• Developing projects across our region to reduce the number of patients requiring hospital admission, including directing patients to urgent community response services.

• We are also asking the public to give us their continued support during this time of extraordinary pressure by using NHS resources wisely."

A spokesperson for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, said: “Lister Hospital remains very busy. If you are attending the Lister Hospital emergency department you will continue to wait a long time unless you have a life or limb-threatening illness or injury.

“For those who are able to get there, the New QEII Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre in Welwyn Garden City is open from 8am to 10pm to treat minor illnesses or injuries – such as burns and scalds, suspected fractures and broken bones – with a far shorter wait than at Lister. Alternatively, we urge the public to speak to their local pharmacist or contact NHS 111 so they can be direct you to the most appropriate care."