Hospitals in Wales are to get a 15-minute waiting time target for moving patients from ambulances into accident and emergency departments, it has been announced.
Health minister Edwina Hart said the initiative will help to end the sight of ambulances queuing outside hospitals during busy periods.
Managers and staff already aim to get people out of ambulances in this timeframe, but the target will become mandatory from April this year.
An Assembly government spokesman said: “Achieving the handover target will require NHS organisations to work together to improve the delivery and quality of services.
“Reducing handover times will improve the experience for patients and help release emergency ambulances to respond to life-threatening 999 calls.”
But the Conservatives hit out at the plans, which they believe will not solve the problem.
Shadow health minister Jonathan Morgan said: “This idea sounds good in theory but is going to be very difficult to implement in reality.
“The reason why patients are waiting in ambulances outside hospitals at the moment is because the Assembly government has not increased capacity in A&E to cope with demand.”
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