It’s not that long since patient waiting times were in the news but worryingly further BBC research indicates that things are only getting worse. The BBC has reported this week that many of the most seriously ill patients are having to wait for hours on trolleys and in corridors in hospitals due to the NHS struggling to find beds.
Seriously ill NHS patients ‘face hours on trolleys’
What does the research show?
- One in seven patients arriving via ambulance are waiting over 30 minutes to be handed over to A&E staff.
- One in five patients in A&E wait more than four hours to be seen.
- 25% of patients wait for more than four hours for a bed once admitted.
The research, which is based on an analysis of data from NHS England, found that the delays faced by some of the most frail and ill patients have risen significantly this winter.
It is reported that nearly a quarter of patients who were admitted onto wards during December and January in England faced delays of more than four hours before a bed could be found for them. In turn, this created a backlog outside the hospitals and for those being brought in by ambulance.
Highest trolley waits in England
The statistics from NHS England for December 2019 to January 2020 show the following Trusts have the highest trolley waits:
- Shrewsbury and Telford
- George Eliot, Nuneaton
- The Rotherham
- Nottingham University
- Weston Area Health
- Countess of Chester
- The Dudley Group
- Durham and Darlington
- United Lincolnshire
What can be done?
We all know that the NHS is over-stretched. This new BBC report give us the latest figures, but in reality it simply shows that the situation has not improved since the last time the statistics were in the news. And, as we continue to deal with the evolving issue of coronavirus, there seems little hope that things will improve any time soon.
The Royal College of Nursing responded to the reports by saying that the situation was unacceptable and treating patients in this way was undignified and put them at risk. In fact, they said that the situation was so bad that some hospitals had begun to deploy nurses to work in corridors and provide treatments such as giving oxygen and antibiotic drips to patients.
With the coronavirus situation, the drain on hospital resources is ever increasing in these difficult times and experts believe that there is “little in the tank” for the NHS to be able to cope.
Most worrying, of course, is that delays can lead to harm to patients. Clearly the statistics show that some of the most vulnerable patients – the elderly, most sick and frail – are those most at risk and more has to be done to protect them.
NHS England has said that extra money was being invested, which would help hospitals to recruit staff and cut waiting times. But how much is available to be invested and is it enough? More must be done to focus on the NHS and the funds required to provide the services that patients deserve. To fail to do so is only going to result in more patients suffering avoidably.
How can Nelsons help?
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