Footage shows people lined up on stretchers waiting to be seen at Aintree Hospital in Merseyside this week – with a man with stroke symptoms said to have been asked to join the queue
Image: Echo of Liverpool)
Patients were pictured lined up on stretchers, waiting to be seen in an ‘endless’ hallway in an A&E ward, as pressure continues to mount on the NHS.
Worried parents were pictured standing and sitting next to loved ones with their arms crossed in an exasperated position as they filled a long hospital corridor.
The footage was shared with the Liverpool Echo by a man who was taking his elderly relative to be seen at Aintree Hospital in Merseyside this week.
In recounting the horrors he witnessed, he described patient expectations as “the worst he had ever seen” in an A&E ward.
He added: “I’ve spent quite a bit of time in and out of here with my elderly parents lately, but I’ve never seen patients lying on trolleys stretching all over. along and in the adjoining corridors, which form part of the main hospital.
Echo of Liverpool)
“No matter the ability, it went beyond that and more.
“Although stressful for my elderly parent, I saw relatives rush to a man suffering from the first signs of a stroke only to be met with the answer ‘they will have to join the back of the queue’ – which extended far beyond the endless corridors of A&E.”
He added that hospital staff were “working miracles” to try to get patients seen.
The NHS continues to face major constraints, with reports of significant wait times in accident and emergency departments across the country.
Earlier this month, Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted that hospitals were under ‘enormous pressure’ with an influx of patients following the pandemic.
Mr Javid saw a viral video of a nurse at an Essex hospital warning a crowded waiting room of patients that there were no more ward beds left and urging relatives to leave loved ones to free up time ‘space.
Patients in this waiting room had been told they had to wait 1pm to be seen, while a man claimed he was made to lie on the floor of A&E in Oldham, Manchester, for 10 hours as he struggled to breathe.
Mr Javid said: “Because of the impact of Covid, we already know from our NHS estimates we believe that some 11-13 million people have remained away from the NHS because of the pandemic. .
“A lot of these people are showing up, many of them at A&E, and we’re seeing very high levels of demand. It’s a real challenge for the NHS across the system.”
Responding to the footage, Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We continue to face significant demands on our emergency services.
“This means that on occasion we have a number of patients waiting in the hallway of our emergency department.
“The safety and well-being of these patients is our priority and they are cared for by assigned nurses. However, we know this is not ideal and we do everything we can to avoid it.
Echo of Liverpool)
“People can help us by only going to our emergency services if they have a serious medical emergency and by seeking out alternative services for other less urgent problems.”
Work has now started on a £16million improvement project at Aintree University Hospital, which aims to reduce emergency department wait times and provide better patient care.
A spokesperson for the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, said: “Accident and emergency services continue to experience very high levels of demand in Cheshire and Merseyside, and indeed across the country.
“We have recently seen a high number of ambulance calls and people presenting themselves to A&E. Our medical teams are working hard to ensure people get the treatment they need, as quickly as possible, with patients attending A&E always being seen in clinical priority order.
Echo of Liverpool)
“NHS trusts across Cheshire and Merseyside are working together to make improvements and help us manage this increased demand with staff focused on providing safe patient care and ensuring that those who are already in hospital beds are freed up quickly when they are well to create space for people who need our urgent attention.
“Our residents can also help us reduce the impact of such a request by remembering that A&E should only be used for serious and life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
“Please note that there are many other points of care and support available to people for less urgent conditions. Please contact NHS 111 first for advice, your local pharmacy, walk-in center or your GP in such cases.”