Hospitals deploy ‘corridor nurses’ to look after queues of patients

Healthcare professionals and nursing leaders are raising concerns about the practice. 

Ian Snug
15 January 2020
Corridor in modern hospital

Hospitals are left with no choice but look after the queues of patients in corridors.

The practice of nursing patients on corridors used to be rare but experts have warned that the “often unsafe” practice is now becoming more prevalent.

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Busy hospitals are reportedly being left with no choice but to redeploy nurses from already over-stretched wards to look after queues of patients in corridors.

A toxic combination of underfunding, short staffing, an ever-increasing demand on services, and a reduction in the total number of bed hours is thought to be the cause.

Unsafe.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has confirmed the “often unsafe” practice is happening “across the country”.

Dave Smith, Chair of the RCN’s Emergency Care Association, said: “Having to provide care to patients in corridors and on trolleys in overcrowded emergency departments is not what we came into nursing for.

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“It’s not just undignified for patients, it’s also often unsafe.

“Staff from across the NHS are reporting having to work in corridors, but this problem isn’t going to go away unless we can increase the number of nurses in the health service.”

Going on to emphasised that “Patient safety is being compromised too often at present.”

A million extra patients.

The news of the rise in corridor nursing comes days after the NHS in England posted its worst-ever performance figures on record.

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An NHS spokesperson said: “While the NHS has more beds open this winter than last, our A&Es have had to treat more than a million extra patients over the past year.

“So as well as 50,000 more nurses and extra hospital beds, over the next few years it’s also going to be necessary to rebuild and expand most A&E departments across England.”

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