At the Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford, you can wait for five hours in A & E and still not be seen.
The WW heard of one instance where a clinician told patients waiting in Guildford’s A & E that they were unlikely to be seen, so it might be wise to go home and make an appointment with their GP the following morning.
Patients asked him if he was having a laugh. They told him they had waited for three weeks for an appointment with a GP, which is why they had ended up in distress in the A & E department.
One patient from Bordon had attended Portsmouth Hospital and was sent away to Petersfield and from Petersfield to the RSH in Guildford. A trip that had spanned 12 hours. There was no self-distancing in the patient waiting area and standing room only.
Patients bitterly complained about the parking charges, which they claimed were crippling.
We wonder what our MP’s Jeremy Hunt a former Secretary of State for Health and Angela Richardson have to say about this dire situation?
The number of ‘trolley waits of more than 12 hours has continued to rise into January, around the country as senior medics warn of ‘appalling crowding’ in emergency departments.
Internal operational data submitted to NHS England, and seen by HSJ, suggests the number of patients who waited 12 hours or more in an emergency department, from the decision to admit to being given a ward bed, increased by around 15 per cent in December, compared to the previous month.
The leaked data is from “situation reports” from NHS trusts but is invalidated. It reliably reflects the trend in 12-hour waits, but the final validated figures for December, due on Thursday, are expected to be even higher.
The internal data suggests there were around 10,700 trolley waits of more than 12 hours in December, compared to around 9,300 in November. The December total is around three times higher than that of December 2020 and four times higher than December 2019.
The numbers have risen further in January, with the daily total averaging around 400 up to 9 January. If this rate continued, it would lead to around 12,500 such cases in the full month.
Separate figures from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, released on Tuesday, also point to a significant increase. RCEM’s figures are based on weekly data from 40 sites and measure a slightly different waiting time (see files below).
Adrian Boyle, vice president of policy at RCEM, told HSJ that one factor behind the long stays in EDs are a lack of inpatient capacity, partly caused by staffing issues.
He said: “From what I hear around the country there is appalling crowding, and people taking an awfully long time to move through departments. It’s very pressurised, it feels very unsustainable and frequently feels very unsafe.
“It’s difficult to see hope at the moment because there is no clear end to this pressure. What this is going to mean is everything is going to continue to get slower, and patients are going to wait longer and longer.
“Our EDs were generally not overcrowded in 2015. I can remember seven years ago we didn’t have overcrowding at levels we’re getting at the moment. Twelve-hour stays were not a thing 10 years ago.”
A source at one large hospital in the south of England said earlier this week that major problems with flow meant that one in five of its accident and emergency patients were waiting more than 12 hours for admission and that at one point the department had nearly a dozen patients waiting more than 24 hours at the same time. They said delayed discharges from acute beds were the major cause of the problem.
Many NHS leaders have cited major pressures in domiciliary care and care homes — such as absences and outbreaks meaning homes cannot admit patients — in recent days.
Meanwhile, hospital capacity is effectively a lot lower than normal, with many wards having to be reserved for covid-positive patients, and large numbers of contacts of covid-positive patients, who also have to be isolated.
This, of course, is why so many operations are being cancelled, including at The Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford. Despite the fact that patients are in dreadful pain.