Thousands of patients were waiting in ambulances parked outside hospitals across Greater Manchester last year, a new report has revealed.

Over a 10-month period, 6,688 patients were stuck in ambulances outside hospitals.

In total, 1,313 of these patients were waiting outside hospitals in Manchester, with the majority of them waiting outside North Manchester General.

Almost 17,000 patients were still waiting with paramedics more than 60 minutes after arriving at hospitals across the city-region during the period up to last month.

Around a third of these patients were waiting to be handed over to hospital staff in Manchester – although some waited within the A&E department itself.

It comes as the NHS struggles to keep up with demand this winter as it tries to recover from the impact the pandemic had on health and social care services.

Speaking at a Manchester Council scrutiny meeting on Wednesday, February 22, representatives from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) said there have been "significant improvements" in handover times in the last six weeks.

This has helped free up ambulances faster, allowing them to respond quicker.

However, Greater Manchester head of operations Dan Smith told councillors that NWAS is still having to prepare paramedics to look after patients for longer periods of time.

He said: “Paramedics are not trained to manage a patients’ care for more than an hour really, and for some of these occurrences it’s actually longer.

“In adversity, we’ve started to look at safety and we’ve actually brought in processes to ensure that our paramedics have got as many tools as they possibly can have given their limited experience to manage those patients in that timeframe.”

In total, NWAS lost 8,313 ambulance hours due to delays at emergency departments in Manchester hospitals from April 1, 2022 to January 31, 2023.

This is partly due to "delayed admissions" which is when patients must wait in ambulances outside the A&E department due to their being no room inside.

In Greater Manchester, this occurred 6,688 times during that period, with Manchester hospitals accounting for 1,313 of those occurrences.

Of these patients, 246 waited outside Manchester Royal Infirmary, 33 were outside Wythenshawe Hospital and 1,034 were outside North Manchester General.

However, of these three hospitals, North Manchester General had the fewest patients waiting more than 60 minutes to be handed over by paramedics for.

More than 2,000 ambulance handovers took longer than an hour in each of the other two hospitals, but many of these "extreme waits" were inside.