QEH ambulances sent to Lewisham

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, south-east London

A South London hospital became the first to divert ambulances as pressure mounts on A&E services across the capital.

The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust had to divert ambulances from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, (QEH) to Lewisham Hospital (LH) for four hours due to extreme pressures.

This is the first time a hospital has had to do this this year.

A spokeswoman from the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “This was not a full ambulance divert – A&E at Queen Elizabeth Hospital continued to take children and “blue light” ambulances containing the most seriously ill patients.

“Other ambulances with less seriously ill patients were diverted to University Hospital Lewisham for a few hours to relieve pressures on QEH. An internal divert such as this is not a regular occurrence, but was due to exceptional levels of demand at QEH that day.”

This January was the second worst month on record for NHS A&E departments according to NHS figures released on Thursday.

Hospitals fell short of the NHS’s target of dealing with 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours as nationally only 85.3 per cent were seen in this time frame.

In London hospitals more than 100 patients were left waiting outside in ambulances for more than four hours this January.

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