‘A busy day at the hos­pi­tal’

Western Mail - - NEWS - Caitlin O’Sul­li­van

EX­TRA beds had to be opened up at Swansea’s Mor­ris­ton Hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day to try to cope with an in­flux of pa­tients and a line of wait­ing am­bu­lances out­side its A&E de­part­ment.

At one point, around 10 am­bu­lances were stacked up out­side its main en­trance wait­ing to hand over pa­tients. Bosses at the 750-bed hos­pi­tal also urged any­one with­out “an ur­gent con­di­tion” to stay away.

It came as fig­ures also showed a record year for vis­its to A&E de­part­ments in Wales. New anal­y­sis by the BBC sug­gests hos­pi­tals in Wales are strug­gling to keep up with de­mand.

There are now reg­u­larly more than a mil­lion vis­its a year to Welsh ur­gent care de­part­ments – de­spite a pop­u­la­tion of just over three mil­lion.

And the num­bers wait­ing more than four hours has jumped by more than two-thirds (67.5%) in four years.

Jeff Mor­ris, op­er­a­tions man­ager for the Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg Uni­ver­sity Health Board area, said: “We can con­firm that we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a very busy day at Mor­ris­ton Hos­pi­tal and are work­ing with hos­pi­tal staff to pri­ori­tise pa­tients with great­est clin­i­cal need and al­le­vi­ate pres­sure.”

A spokes­woman for the health trust added: “Like health boards across the coun­try, our emer­gency de­part­ment is ex­tremely busy. In the last 48 hours we have seen a much higher than usual num­ber of crit­i­cally ill pa­tients with com­plex con­di­tions, many of whom ar­rive by am­bu­lance or in some cases by air am­bu­lance.

“These pa­tients, some of whom are in a life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion, are be­ing seen and treated as a mat­ter of ur­gency. This means those pa­tients with less se­ri­ous or nonur­gent clin­i­cal symp­toms or con­di­tions can wait longer to be seen.

“We are do­ing all we can to re­duce de­lays. We are work­ing closely with col­leagues from the am­bu­lance ser­vice to en­sure only pa­tients who need to come to the de­part­ment ar­rive by am­bu­lance. In ad­di­tion, we have opened ex­tra beds and all avail­able clin­i­cians and nurses are see­ing pa­tients.

“We apol­o­gise to all our pa­tients who are wait­ing longer than we would like and thank them and their fam­i­lies for their sup­port.

The 750-bed hos­pi­tal had sim­i­lar prob­lems on De­cem­ber 14 last year, when pa­tients’ treat­ments were de­layed as eight am­bu­lances were stuck out­side the hos­pi­tal. That queue was caused by a surge in ad­mis­sions of el­derly peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to health bosses.

A&E tar­gets are iden­ti­cal across the UK – the ser­vices aim to treat and dis­charge, or ad­mit or trans­fer, a pa­tient within four hours in 95% of cases. In Oc­to­ber of this year, only 71.8% of pa­tients in Mor­ris­ton Hos­pi­tal were seen in un­der four hours.

In Wales, pa­tients wait­ing more than four hours have in­creased by 67.5% in four years.

> Am­bu­lances queue out­side the A&E de­part­ment at Mor­ris­ton hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day

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