A centre which will receive patients delivered by ambulance is being set up at Queen's Hospital to reduce delays in transfers to the emergency department caused by Covid-19.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) is working with London Ambulance Service (LAS) on opening an Ambulance Receiving Centre (ARC) at the Romford hospital.

A BHRUT spokesperson said the facility, to be staffed by LAS, will be located in the medical records department.

They explained: "Once opened, the ARC will allow ambulance patients assessed by paramedics to be brought in and cared for safely until we have space for them in our emergency department (ED).

"This will ensure patients do not need to be in ambulances any longer than necessary and releases ambulance crews to attend to other emergencies more quickly.

"Fitted with cubicles for patients on trollies, the area will be a much more comfortable place for our patients to be cared for safely."

The move comes in response to "Covid pressures", which the spokesperson said have led to delays in ambulance crews handing over patients.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Ambulances outside Queen's Hospital in RomfordAmbulances outside Queen's Hospital in Romford (Image: PA)

Last week a nurse told this paper that "most" of the trust's other hospital, King George in Goodmayes, has been taken over by people who are sick with Covid-19.

She said: “On one day, we had 20 ambulances with patients parked up outside – it is exactly the same here as at Queen’s.

“Medical staff are having to go out there, in PPE, to take blood tests in the back of the vans.

"As well as being treated in ambulances, there are people in corridors because we are running out of space for them.”

An LAS spokesperson said it has been working with Queen's to ensure patients can be moved out of ambulances and into the ED there "as quickly and safely as possible".

"The new centre will help us get our ambulances back out on the road quicker and responding to patients in the community, whilst ensuring those being transferred to Queen’s emergency department are still receiving the best care for their needs.”

No opening date has yet been given for the new facility, but the BHRUT spokesperson said it hopes to launch it "soon".