An 83-year-old woman who had suffered a suspected stroke was left outside the A&E department of Leicester Royal Infirmary for more than 18 hours. The hospital hit its maximum bed capacity leaving the patient waiting in a makeshift handover shelter made up of a bus and connected tent.
Martin Burgess, the son of the patient, has shared his experiences with the hospital as he tries to find answers as to why his mum was left in the care of paramedics. She faced an 18 hour-plus wait for a bed inside despite previously suffering from heart issues and strokes.
The woman, whose identity has been kept anonymous, was left waiting so long that a doctor left their shift, went home, and returned for work again only to find her still to be admitted. Leicester Hospitals Trust has since apologised to the patient and their family for the wait, and stress that they are experiencing exceptionally high demand for hospital beds.
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The patient was blue-lighted to the hospital at 1pm on Wednesday, December 28, where she remained in the ambulance until around 2pm before being moved into the temporary care centre ran by paramedics. Martin, 61, and his mum were alongside other blue-lighted patients in the centre – which is a tent attached to a coach by the ambulance bay for LRI.
It was here that Martin was told there were no free beds available, but they would do what they could to get her into A&E as soon as possible. Due to ongoing strain at the hospital, the University of Hospital NHS Trust has opened a “temporary receiving area” for patients at the hospital to allow paramedics to hand over patients and return to the roads quicker.
Martin, who travelled down to Leicester from his home in Huddersfield, said: “Because A&E is full they have set up a bus and tent close to the ambulance drop-off area at LRI. Mum was blue-lighted to the hospital at 1pm before staying in the ambulance for a while – then being moved into the temporary area at around 2pm.
“She’s remained there until around 10am before she was moved into the main A&E department, and she has since had a CT scan – but things only started to progress after I contacted the Leicester Mercury. At one point overnight, there were around 15 ambulances waiting to drop off passengers into the temporary area.
Read More: Stroke patient, 83, left in tent outside Leicester A&E for more than 18 hours with hospital at full capacity