March 23, 2018

Alarming: A&E chiefs from 68 hospitals warn patients are 'dying prematurely'

12 January 2018, 09:48 | Winifred Adams

A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the delays patients have faced

A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust apologised for the delays patients have faced

Staff at the hospital seemed "overwhelmed" and "deeply hurt" that patients were having to wait outside, she said.

More than 60 A&E department heads in England and Wales have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to warn that the "current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable", as the winter months put the NHS under further strain.

We feel compelled to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied health professional colleagues and for the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients.

The latest figures released by NHS Digital show bed occupancy rates have been at 100pc at JPUH from December 27 to January 7.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the NHS was coming under "significant pressure" as a result of higher flu levels.

The number doubled the prior figure of 24 deaths this winter, upping the total to 48.

"The fact remains however that the NHS is severely and chronically underfunded".

A hospital spokesman said: "We would like to extend our honest apologies to Esme Thomas and her family, and to all our patients who have had to spend much longer in A&E than normal waiting for a hospital bed".

"Some of our own personal experiences range from over 120 patients a day managed in corridors, some dying prematurely".

The figures showed that just 78% of patients across Scotland were either admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour target time of 95% - the lowest since weekly figures began in February 2015.

"The NHS today has launched their national flu programme and I would encourage people to act on the advice that the NHS is giving and also encourage NHS staff who haven't had the flu vaccine yet to have that vaccine". Behind each statistic is a patient waiting longer for care, often in distress, and doctors working under impossible conditions, exhausted and frustrated that they can't provide the compassionate and quality care they want to for their patients.

She added: "In spite of all that, thanks to winter planning, thanks to the efforts of our NHS staff, our NHS is coping admirably".

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Our experience at the front line is that these plans have failed to deliver anywhere near what was needed.

"A lady joined the queue to see reception to asked why her 90-year-old mother was now still in an ambulance and have been sitting there for over two hours".

A review of the number of hospital beds that are available for acute care.

"So thank you to the staff".

Meanwhile trusts up and down the country are seeing no let up in pressure in the new year, with some fearing the worst is yet to come.

We have known for a number of years that recruitment of staff to Emergency Departments has been challenging.

"Figures for the first week in January are about to be published by Health Protection Scotland and they show a further doubling of flu rates in Scotland".

Among those to have signed the letter are Ruchi Joshi, A&E GP at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Ann-Marie Morris, consultant in emergency medicine at the University Hospitals of North Midlands, and Jo Taylor, from the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust.

"Similar to every other hospital in the country, we have been under extreme pressure seeing much higher volumes of very ill patients who need our care".

He used First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament to highlight the case of 80-year-old Tom Wilson from Newtongrage in Midlothian, who he said waited more than three hours for an ambulance after a fall on New Year's Day, before spending 13 hours on a trolley in A&E.

According to NHS outlines, 85% of patients should be treated within this time.

In the meantime we would like to apologise to our patients for being unable to fulfil our pledge for a safe efficient service and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff.

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