Re­al­ity of ‘cor­ri­dor care’ hid­den by NHS

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE -

A HID­DEN re­al­ity over “cor­ri­dor care” in the na­tion’s hos­pi­tals is ob­scured by the way data is col­lected, emer­gency doc­tors warn, claim­ing the safety net of the NHS is “buck­ling” un­der the strain.

New fig­ures, to be pub­lished to­day, sug­gest thou­sands of pa­tients may have waited in A&E for over 12 hours for a bed within the first week of De­cem­ber.

The re­port from the Royal Col­lege of Emer­gency Medicine (RCEM), based on a sam­ple of emer­gency de­part­ments, paints a “shock­ing” pic­ture over pro­vi­sion, se­nior doc­tors warn.

“We are clearly in the worst state we’ve ever been in as we en­ter the true win­ter sea­son,” said Dr Kather­ine Hen­der­son, pres­i­dent of the RCEM.

“Norovirus and the on­go­ing pen­sions tax­a­tion is­sue will not have helped, but this de­cline has been long in the mak­ing.

“Many pa­tients are now get­ting of­ten life chang­ing news while stranded on a trol­ley in a cor­ri­dor,” she added.

“This can­not be right, and we must strive to put an end to ‘cor­ri­dor care’.”

The anal­y­sis comes as it emerges a young boy, rushed to Leeds Gen­eral In­fir­mary by am­bu­lance with sus­pected pneu­mo­nia, was last week forced to sleep on the floor.

Moved to a clin­i­cal room with just a chair, the four-year-old is pic­tured with an oxy­gen mask, ly­ing on a pile of coats for com­fort. His mother Sarah Wil­li­ment, 34, said: “The NHS is in cri­sis.

“There sim­ply aren’t enough beds to cope with the high level of de­mand.”

The hos­pi­tal’s chief ex­ec­u­tive has since apol­o­gised, af­ter his mother re­vealed they had spent over eight hours in A&E, and they weren’t given a bed un­til 13 hours af­ter ar­riv­ing.

Dr Yvette Oade, Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer at Leeds Teach­ing Hos­pi­tals NHS Trust said the depart­ment had seen its high­est at­ten­dance last week since April 2016.

“De­spite this, our staff are work­ing tire­lessly to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble care un­der these ex­treme pres­sures,” she added, ex­press­ing her sin­cere apolo­gies.

To­day’s RCEM re­port shows that in the first week of De­cem­ber just 69 per cent of pa­tients were seen within four hours, which the col­lege has said equates to the worst per­for­mance in the project’s five-year his­tory.

There are con­cerns that emer­gency rooms are strug­gling to cope, Dr Hen­der­son said, and staff are chal­lenged to de­liver a stan­dard of care they as­pire to.

“Emer­gency De­part­ments are the NHS safety net and the safety net is buck­ling,” she added.

The first data from this year’s Win­ter Flow Project shows that, in the first week of De­cem­ber, over 5,000 pa­tients waited for longer than 12 hours in emer­gency de­part­ments. This was within a sam­ple of 50 trusts and boards across the UK, ac­count­ing for about a third of Eng­land’s acute bed base.

But while that fig­ure since the start of Oc­to­ber was over 38,000

pa­tients, of­fi­cial data from NHS Eng­land reports that just 13,025 pa­tients had ex­pe­ri­enced such waits since 2011/12. The dif­fer­ence is in the way data is recorded, with the RCEM count­ing from when a pa­tient ar­rives in A&E, while the NHS only starts the clock when a de­ci­sion is made to ad­mit them.

An NHS spokesper­son said: “Our doc­tors, nurses and other staff are pulling out all the stops to look af­ter more and more peo­ple, and a par­tic­u­lar in­crease in pa­tients who are older and have more com­plex ill­nesses.

“While hos­pi­tals will con­tinue to open more beds as needed over the com­ing weeks, the pub­lic also have a role to play go­ing into win­ter, and can help NHS staff by get­ting their flu jab if they’re el­i­gi­ble.”

SHOCK­ING: A boy was forced to sleep on a floor at a Leeds hos­pi­tal.

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