Patients at Ipswich Hospital’s A&E department were shocked on Sunday to find other patients ahead of them queueing on trolleys for attention. It is claimed by one that a woman had been waiting for 14 hours before being admitted to the emergency assessment unit.
At one time four patients were waiting on trolleys in the A&E corridor as new patients walked past them, though there is no suggestion that they were being ignored. They were still being nursed and provided with the care they needed. But it is alleged that the overcrowding in A&E has worsened over recent weeks.
Fortunately the woman who waited for 14 hours had family around her during her wait, and was moved to a cubicle.
It is generally acknowledged that the situation at Ipswich may be better than at other hospitals in the region, but two separate patients reported to EAB that on one day, two weeks ago, there were at one point 22 ambulances waiting outside Ipswich Hospital’s A&E. At the same time there were over 100 patients waiting inside A&E.
System working, but fears for patients during winter
Newly arrived patients needing triage are given priority, and those with life-threatening conditions receive immediate treatment. But there are concerns that, once the others are assessed and awaiting their turn for treatment, there is a potentially dangerous logjam which with limited resources and a new influx of covid patients can only get worse.
In August Nick Hulme, the chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) which runs the hospital, explained that they were preparing for winter early, since even at that time they were already coming under pressure.
He said: “We’re already seeing significant numbers of delays both within the hospital and further down the line in ambulances, so we wouldn’t normally expect that at this time of year.”
In a statement today he didn’t address yesterday’s problems directly, but said: “We are working hard to respond to the high demand for our A&E services and deliver the best possible care – this is always our top priority. We also want to get ambulances back on the road as quickly as possible.
“Keeping our patients safe is always our focus and we are doing everything we can to respond to the demand for care and treatment across our communities. We also work closely with all our partners within the health and social care sector so we can treat and admit, or discharge people, from our A&E departments quickly and safely.”
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