08:00 Thursday 22 November 2012

'Blood, filth and long waits' as A&E struggles to cope


Accident and emergency patients at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital are suffering as it struggles to cope with a surge in demand, a visitor to the unit has claimed.

Queen's hospital
Queen's hospital

Kim Smith described chaotic scenes at the hospital’s A&E department after spending five-and-a-half hours there with her sister, Kerry Lawrence, who had banged her head after suffering a fainting fit.

Mrs Smith, from Winshill, said on one night in the unit last week: A woman waited in A&E for more than eight hours for a bed; An elderly man in a wheelchair was left unattended for three hours waiting to be taken home; Patients were treated in a room which was ‘absolutely filthy’ with what appeared to be urine on the floor; and Blood was left on the floor of a toilet for more than two hours as people continued to use it.

Queen’s has been placed under increasing strain due to the night-time closure of the A&E department at scandal-hit Stafford Hospital, and Mrs Smith claimed Burton was struggling to cope with the resultant surge in patients travelling from the other side of the county.

She said: “We got to the hospital at about 7pm and it was absolutely packed, with people in the corridor and standing in the entrance to A&E.

“We were taken into the triage room for assessment at about 9pm and finally got to see a doctor at 10.30pm.

“The room we were in was absolutely filthy, with stuff all over the floor, including a yellow liquid which hadn’t been cleaned up and used plasters left on the side.

“There was a lady who told A&E reception she’d made a mess in the toilet.

“Two-and-a-half hours later the blood on the floor still hadn’t been cleaned up, and although they’d put an ‘out of order’ sign on it, people were still using it.

“I’ve never seen the unit that packed before and it just seemed like there were too many people for them to cope with.

“The staff were trying really hard but the system just doesn’t work.”

Helen Ashley, chief executive of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, apologised for the delay and said the hospital was experiencing greater demand than normal but was ‘making every effort to minimise waiting times’.

She said: “As soon as the area was identified as requiring cleaning a sign was displayed advising that the facilities were out of use, and alternative facilities were available nearby.

“Our domestic services team endeavours to clean areas quickly but during busy times this is not always possible.

“I should like to reassure the public that we are committed to delivering the highest standards of care at all times and fully investigate concerns voiced by patients or their relatives.”

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