A HEALTH watchdog says patients being treated in corridors at Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s A&E department is "unacceptable".

Healthwatch Worcestershire, the county's patient watchdog, made 31 unannounced visits to the hospital in Worcester and spoke with 119 patients all being nursed in corridors and has now published a damning 'Care in the Corridor' report.

Inspectors slammed the fact one patient reported that they had not been given prescribed medicines during the nearly 24 hours they had been in A&E and that no explanation had been provided.

The watchdog also found three patients who had waited over 12 hours, and another who had waited for between eight and 12 hours, said they had not been offered any food since being in the corridor area.

Inspectors said during most of their visits it was possible to overhear patients’ personal details, treatment and condition being discussed in the corridor and on a few occasions, they saw patients being examined could be seen by other people in the corridor despite screens being used.

They also pointed out a lack of 'information and communication' and that patients reported difficultly sleeping and resting in the corridor areas due to noise and bright lighting.

Although inspectors did state patients 'recognised' the effort that staff were making to care for them, patients had experienced a level of care that fell below that which they are entitled to.

The visits were carried out over a six-week period from February 13 to March 26 this year and the Healthwatch report makes 38 recommendations for improving care.

Jo Ringshall, vice chairman of Healthwatch Worcestershire, said: "In our view patients being nursed in corridors is unacceptable.

"Whilst patients reported that overall they had been well looked after by hospital staff they nevertheless told us of examples where their level of care fell below that which they are entitled to.

"A corridor is not the right place to look after sick people, and we are pleased that the NHS recognise this."

The recommendations focus on improving patient privacy and dignity, by using private areas and patient cubicles where possible, providing letters to state patients are waiting in corridors, providing further comfort and assistance, consider making hallways more sleep-friendly and giving clear information about waiting times and other aspects of care.

The report comes after two patients died at on trolleys Worcestershire Royal between December 31, 2015 and January 3 this year.

One died from a cardiac arrest after waiting 35 hours and the other died following an aneurysm.

And earlier this year we reported on shock figures showing that in January, more patients endured 12-hour 'trolley waits' in Worcestershire than anywhere else in the country.

The figures from NHS England showed 167 patients needing hospital admission were forced to wait for 12 hours or more in A&E in Worcestershire during January.

A Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman "welcomed" the report.

They said: "We understand the anxiety caused when any patient has to spend some of their stay in the A&E corridor. We recognise the challenges we have around patient flow and we – with the support of external partners - are focused on making improvements and eliminating wherever possible the need for any patient to have to spend time in the corridor. This includes working closely with our own wards and departments, and our health economy partners, to ensure patients are discharged from hospital as soon as their treatment is finished."

They added: "A specific action plan has already been put in place to address specific points raised by the report."

To see the full report including all 38 recommendations, click here.