There is no space and ambulances are waiting for over 4 hours to admit patients.
Accident & Emergency staff are broken as patients are forced to wait “days” for a hospital bed and are “dying without dignity or privacy”, whistleblowers have warned.
Department matron Tracey Thorn alongside four other senior staff at The Royal Preston Hospital have written to bosses at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust to whistleblow how bad the conditions are in the trust’s A&E department.
The letter, originally published by the HSJ, talks of the terrible conditions that staff and patients are being forced to deal with daily.
Since being shared online, the letter’s sentiments have been echoed by others working in A&E departments across the country.
An “increasingly precarious” situation.
The whistleblowers warn of an “increasingly precarious” situation where patients wait “in excess of 60 hours” for a hospital bed.
They continued: “This means that at most times there is limited or no space to accommodate new acutely ill patients causing ambulance handover delays of over four hours and delay in treatment.
“Patients, often elderly with multiple co-morbidities, have to sit in the waiting room, some for over 24 hours waiting for a cubicle space and treatment.
“Patients wait outside the department as there is no space to socially distance in the waiting room.”
Speaking about those who work in the department, they add that A&E staff are “mentally drained and despite their best efforts have seen patients suffer and have received negative comments from distraught relatives and carers”.
In response to the letter, NursingNotes asked 213 A&E workers if the letter reflected the situation in their department. A massive 91% admitted they were often faced with similar challenges with many commenting that things are going “downhill”.
Commendable resilience and compassion.
Responding to the publication of the letter, the trust’s chief executive, Kevin McGee, said: “The safety of patients and the welfare of staff remain the trust’s top priorities and we would like to express our ongoing thanks to our emergency department colleagues who continue to demonstrate commendable resilience and compassion to each other and our patients in very challenging circumstances.
“Like NHS providers across the country, our hospitals have continued to sustain unprecedented pressure which has been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals has established and robust processes in place to ensure patient safety and discussions have taken place between emergency department clinicians and trust leadership to help collectively agree approaches to reduce the impact of concerns raised.”