An A&E patient was forced to wait for ’99 hours’ before receiving a bed last week and parents have told how their ailing children were forced to sleep on chairs as the NHSfaces a worsening crisis this winter.
The unnamed patient was brought to Swindon’s Great Western Hospital by ambulance last week but was left waiting on a gurney for four days while staff urgently tried to source an available bed.
One clinician at Great Western Hospital told the Sunday Times: ‘We’re broken and nobody is listening,’ while Jon Westbrook, the hospital’s chief medical officer, wrote in a leaked email to staff: ‘We are seeing case numbers and [sickness] that we have not seen previously in our clinical careers.’
Meanwhile in Oxford at the children’s A&E department of John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, a three-year-old girl was seen curled up on a plastic chair trying to sleep after waiting for hours to be treated.
The girl’s father Tom Hook shared the image on social media and wrote: ‘Exhausted, dehydrated and fighting multiple illnesses, this is the best the NHS could do, five hours after arriving at A&E and 22 hours after we phoned for help.
‘The staff throughout were fantastic and clearly doing a nearly impossible job in a broken system that just channels everything to A&E — which then can’t cope with the demand.’
MailOnline has contacted Great Western hospital for comment.
Ambulance staff are being urged to conserve oxygen supplies due to a surge in demand for portable oxygen in A&E departments which has seen stock run dangerously low in several hospitals around the country.
One NHS worker from the South West told the Sunday Times: ‘We are now at the stage where there is not enough oxygen in cylinders to treat patients in corridors, ambulances and in our walk-in area in A&E.’
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) said ambulance services had told staff the shortage was caused by the high number of patients with respiratory conditions and ‘the suppliers are reporting that this is higher than during the first wave of the Covid pandemic’.
And one senior healthcare official said there could be as many as 500 people dying every week because of delays in emergency care.
Speaking to Times Radio on New Year’s Day, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Dr Adrian Boyle said a bad flu season is compounding systemic problems, leading to hundreds of unnecessary deaths.
Read More: Patient forced to wait FOUR DAYS for a bed and child sleeps on a chair in ‘grossly overcrowded’ A&E