“The system is down”: sick patients have to sit in chairs outside A&E


Sick patients were forced to wait outside a hospital emergency department on chairs and wrapped only in blankets while being treated by nurses in shocking photographs and videos captured by a worried parent.

The situation at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge is common, workers said The independent.

Images shared with The independent by a member of the concerned public shows a patient being cannulated, where a needle and an intravenous line are inserted into a vein, while another patient has a monitor attached to monitor his vital signs.

Patients who waited outside the A&E would be extremely ill, with some vomiting and complaining of worsening symptoms.

“It was like something out of a horror movie,” said Maria, who requested that her last name not be used. “The system is completely broken from start to finish. From the moment we tried to call the GP and they tried to get to the hospital, ”she said.

It was like a horror movie. The system is completely broken from start to finish

Maria, mother of patient

Her daughter needed a chest x-ray on Thursday and had to wait four hours outside A&E Hospital because there was no room available inside.

Addenbrooke’s hospital has been under heavy pressure for months, with patients lining up at the door earlier this year and patients waiting more than 24 hours for a bed. A mentally ill patient was held in the back of an ambulance for more than 12 hours.

This is just one symptom of a nationwide summer crisis in the NHS, with the military being called in to support ambulance services which reported their busiest months ever. A&E units are also experiencing record attendance levels.

Patients wait under heat lamps outside the A&E department at Addenbrooke Hospital


Patients are forced to wait outside the A&E of Addenbrooke so regularly that heat lamps have been installed on the walls outside an entrance, used by non-Covid patients. The hospital also built a marquee as a permanent space for waiting patients.

Maria’s 20-year-old daughter recently recovered from a Covid infection in August, but has had recurring breast issues and deteriorated last week. She was forced to wait outside a second designated area for Covid-related patients.

Maria said she took the photos and the video because she wanted it to be seen by the public, adding, “I just couldn’t believe it. We had to call the GP hundreds of times just to get by. The GP then tried for two hours to contact the hospital to arrange an x-ray.

“The GP kept apologizing, she tried different numbers and finally got it right and we told her they were too busy and she told us we had to go through A&E.”

When she and her daughter, suspected of having pneumonia, arrived at the hospital at 7 p.m., they were told there was no room inside and that they would have to wait inside. ‘outside.

“At first we didn’t even have a chair, but then they brought a wheelchair. There were about six patients. They were very sick people, one was vomiting and the other was shaking.

Over the hours, some gave up and returned home, while others asked for blankets.

“I went home to get a coat for my daughter, blankets and something to eat. My brother is a doctor and he didn’t believe it. I said it was like a horror movie.

At 11 p.m., her daughter was seen and taken into custody by staff who told her mother it would be hours before an x-ray was possible. She was released the next day with antibiotics for a lung infection.

A trust staff member said patients queuing outside have become daily. The clinician blamed poor discharges and moving patients to the hospital.

They said, “This is about getting out of the hospital and reducing the length of stay in the wards. Outings take place too late in the day, service tours start too late and very few outings on weekends.

“All of this is made worse by the reduction in beds for social distancing and the need for red and green zones. And the management team wants elective operations to return to normal levels. “

Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, which operates the A&E unit, said its emergency department had reduced space inside due to social distancing rules.

He said all waiting patients are examined by a nurse and screened, with those considered most at risk taking priority.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We apologize to patients who have had to wait longer than we would like for treatment. Our emergency department is in extremely high demand. In addition, due to Covid security and social distancing, the emergency department has a reduced number of treatment spaces and seats in waiting areas.

“Please support your NHS by using the right service at the right time, so that our emergency services can continue to provide care to people who have a truly urgent or urgent health care need. If you’re not sure where to go for help, visit 111 online or call NHS 111. “

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