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Collapsed woman waits 12 hours for Worcester hospital bed as staff strain to cope
Buy this photo » LEFT WAITING: Joy Squires, left, with pensioner Betty Newberry, who had a 12-hour wait for a bed at Worcester's Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Picture by Jonathan Barry. (0913257901)
A VULNERABLE pensioner was left waiting nearly 12 hours for a bed at Worcestershire Royal Hospital – leading to claims staff are “struggling to cope”.
Amid chaotic scenes 88-year-old Betty Newbery was left while staff “literally ran” from one patient to the next for hours on end.
During the delay at least six trolleys full of sick people began to queue up in a row down the corridor.
It comes as new figures were published revealing accident and emergency departments in Worcestershire are fall-ing well short of key targets for how quickly they are treating emergency patients.
Betty, a widow who lives in Lansdowne Road and has no family in the city, is now being cared for at Timberdine Nursing Home after finding herself unable to swallow.
Worcester city councillor Joy Squires, a neighbour, was the person to find her collapsed at home.
She said: “A week ago, on a Friday I called an ambulance for an elderly neighbour after she had collapsed at home.
“I’d been caring for her and became quite concerned when I went round.
“I spent 12 hours at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, and 11-and-a-half of those were in accident and emergency waiting for a bed.
“While I was there, so many people were coming in and at one point there were about six trolleys in the corridor.
“Doctors were seeing people, staff were literally running from one person to the next – it was really quite an experience.
“When I see members of the public get that very personal service, I want to believe there is capacity at the Royal, but what I witnessed was a service which is barely coping.
“Maybe it was an exceptional day, but it wasn’t especially cold so there was no reason to think why it would be. It was not a service I thought was coping.”
Once she left A&E, she was told the number of patients on trolleys grew to 12.
“The staff were brilliant, they were so nice, but they were under so much strain,” she said.
The comments were made during a meeting of the city council’s scrutiny board, where Simon Trickett, chief operating officer for South Worc-estershire Clinical Comm-issioning Group, answered questions on the joint services review.
Mr Trickett admitted it sounded “extraordinary” but insisted there may have been valid explanations. “That sounds an extraordinary experience and I hope it wasn’t a typical one,” he said.
“Last month a reasonable portion of the hospital was blocked off because of the norovirus, which put pressure on beds – it’s not acceptable but there may be operational reasons for when things like this happen.”
During the debate he also insisted it was not time to “fudge the issue” over the review, saying the aim was to ensure a 24/7 consultancy led-service at the Royal.
As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, under the review A&E services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch could be downgraded, with victims of strokes or other major traumas sent to Worcester.