Patients waiting almost 50 hours for a bed in crowded A&E departments

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Patients wait nearly 50 hours for a bed in accident and emergency departments – including children with serious mental health problems – amid warnings a winter crisis is already brewing in the NHS.

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Granthshala has seen information showing many patients at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire have suffered long waits for a bed in recent days, with the hospital spending more than 40 hours before getting a bed.

Last week a patient spent at least 47 hours at A&E and staff warned that long waits were a regular occurrence.


The situation is being replicated across England with many hospitals announcing incidents and records showing patients have to wait to see doctors. Some patients have waited 13 hours in the back of an ambulance before coming to A&E.

At Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk, a child under the age of 16 with serious mental health problems waited nearly 48 hours at the A&E department last week. The Trust confirmed this was due to a lack of specialist mental health beds available for children – a problem being reported in the NHS.

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Across England, the NHS is facing severe bed pressure usually months before peak winter pressure. On Friday, 91 per cent of hospital beds in England were occupied – anything over 85 per cent considered unsafe levels.

Dr Katherine Henderson, president of The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said A&ES were already in crisis and were seeing an “alarming rush” of patients.

“Winter presents a significant challenge to healthcare,” she said, adding that “staff are concerned about the ability of the NHS to cope. The government needs to recognize the potential crisis and support the health and care service as it tackles the challenges ahead.”

In Lancashire, the situation is so bad that patients regularly crowd A&E and face long waits.

information viewed by Granthshala A dozen patients spent more than 24 hours in the A&E department last week, with one patient for 47 hours. Five patients were waiting for more than 40 hours in a shift.

it is very dangerous. We are all broken at our inability to provide satisfactory care to our patients and are concerned about our registration

Physicians at Royal Preston Hospital

One worker said: “Almost every day there are more than 40 hours of waiting for beds. it’s dangerous. We are unable to provide satisfactory care to our patients and our registrations are at risk.

“We’ve had an unsafe workload for many years and are now on the verge of collapse.”

A spokesman for the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust said: “Reducing long wait times in our exceptionally busy emergency department is a priority for the entire Trust and our wider health and care system, with several plans to increase capacity in the community. is being carried forward.

“The safety of patients and the welfare of employees is our top priority, we have an established patient safety checklist to ensure we continue to do the right thing, no matter how much pressure we are under, and a very robust system through which employees can concerns and we strongly encourage them to do so.”

The trust said more than 40 additional community beds are being opened to help more patients get discharged. More beds have also been opened in the trust, but it is struggling with staffing levels and high demand in line with other units across the country.

The trust said that if a patient is waiting in the unit for a long time, they are reviewed regularly, but it is seeing a 6 per cent increase in attendance over the same period in 2019.


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