Newly released data has shown the extent of waiting times at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust hospitals.

Waiting times for ambulance handovers, accident and emergency treatment and routine treatment at the Trust are all significantly lengthier than the target times, and are all worse than the national average for England.

East and North Herts NHS Trust runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage, the New QEII hospital in Welwyn Garden City, and Hertford County Hospital.

In the week ending December 10, 70 per cent of the 461 ambulance handovers at the Trust's hospitals took longer than thirty minutes. The target is for all handovers to be completed within 15 minutes.

While the figures are an improvement on the comparable week last year - when 77 per cent of 316 patients waited longer than 30 minutes for their handover - they are significantly worse than the national average.

Across England, 34 per cent of patients experienced a handover time of longer than thirty minutes.

Figures have also been released for routine treatment and accident and emergency waiting times.

In November, patients at East and North Herts NHS Trust hospitals were waiting longer than four hours at A&E in 38 per cent of cases, out of a total of 15,455 patients.

This was a slight improvement on 2022, when 39 per cent of 15,407 had to wait longer than four hours, but means the Trust is still below the average for England as a whole, which is thirty per cent.

When it comes to routine treatment, the aim is for patients to be seen within 18 weeks. However, 48 per cent of East and North Herts NHS Trust patients in October had to wait longer than that, with 63,218 people on the waiting list.

At the same time last year, 46 per cent of 59,885 people on the waiting list were waiting longer than 18 weeks.

In both cases, the figure is higher than the national average for England, which is 42 per cent.

A spokesperson for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “We are working closely with our NHS colleagues and have dedicated staff at all the region’s acute hospitals to help reduce delays in hospital handovers. 

“We have recruited 119 more frontline healthcare staff in the last three months alone to help deal with the growing demand on our services, including 53 newly qualified paramedics and 48 emergency care assistants. 


"The Trust is on course to recruit over 450 people by spring. 

“We are also working in innovative ways to help people get the care they need without the need to visit accident and emergency departments.

"These include urgent care provided at five unscheduled care hubs across the region, rolling out advanced practice cars in both urgent and critical care to provide specialist clinical care and support in patients’ homes, and collaborating with Community First Responders and Fire and Rescue Services to provide first response for urgent calls, and timely, integrated help for non-urgent falls in the home.  

“The public can help our ambulance crews by using 999 services wisely this winter; for example using 111 if they think they need medical help now, but it’s not life-threatening, so they can be directed to the appropriate service for their healthcare needs.”

Dr Justin Daniels, medical director at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said: "We have made significant improvements to our urgent and emergency care services and had seen reductions in ambulance handover times since last winter.

"However in December, the number of seriously ill patients needing to be admitted was more than the number of patients leaving hospital. This demand has meant that waiting times have been higher than usual. We apologise for the distress this causes our patients and their families.

“We assess and treat patients in order of clinical priority, with frequent reassessment. Doctors assess and treat patients while they wait in ambulances where needed.

“Among other improvements to our urgent and emergency services, we are also opening a new adult Urgent Treatment Centre at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage early next year.”