The death of an 88-year-old man after a prolonged wait in the back of an ambulance outside a hospital has sparked a coroner to raise fears over delays.

Kyriacos Athanasis died at the James Paget University Hospital after falling down the stairs at his home and suffering a cervical fracture.

The fall happened at some point on May 16 last year and he was taken to the hospital the following day.

He died in hospital two weeks later, with coroner Catherine Wood concluding that his death had been accidental.

But delays in transferring him from the ambulance into hospital led to Ms Wood stating that the ongoing struggles in emergency departments would lead to further deaths.

In a report to prevent future deaths, she highlighted her concerns about the dangers of overcrowded emergency departments and the continuing pressures on the health system.

Mr Athanasis' inquest, which was held earlier this month, heard that when he arrived at the Gorleston hospital there was no room for him to be admitted, so he was initially assessed in the back of an ambulance.

As a result, the check was "not sufficient to reveal the extent of his injuries", which led to delays in him being diagnosed and held up his treatment.

And evidence given by emergency department staff showed that months after his death, the struggles have shown no signs of letting up.

The inquest heard that on the day of the hearing - January 4 - the department was running at almost double capacity, caring for 75 patients when it is designed for just 40.

In her report, Ms Wood wrote: "The emergency department staff gave evidence that they regularly have too many patients in the department and cannot find space to safely allow ambulances to transfer patients into their care then leave.

"Significant steps have been taken to reduce the risk to patients, but the department is functioning well over capacity.

"There are clear risks of future deaths for patients waiting for an ambulance, as well as to patients whose diagnosis and treatment is delayed due to limited intervention being available in the back of an ambulance."

A hospital spokesman said it was working on addressing demand and is focussing on discharging patients to create bed capacity - adding it had been "experiencing sustained pressure".