London hospital doctor reveals there’s ‘no wiggle room’ at the A&E
Image courtesy by Tim Merry / Sunday Mirror
Despite concerns, it seems that there’s no end to people’s misery when it comes to A&E waits, with the NHS facing the worst winter on record.
According to MyLondon, hospitals are facing a crisis with staff shortages and strikes. Capacity is believed to have reached its limit with nurses and ambulance crews struggling to keep up with the workload and winter infections are stretching a fragile health system.
Dr Milan Chand, an A&E medicine consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, said that the NHS is ‘on a knife-edge’ with wait times closer to “days and not hours” and patients suffering as a result of that. He told MyLondon about an 80-year-old patient who had to spend his final hours waiting to be seen by a doctor.
He described the incident that took place about a fortnight ago, where the man had arrived along with his wife at the A&E with a suspected blood clot. However, he had to wait for 12 hours during which his condition deteriorated. The staff tried resuscitation, but he went into a cardiac arrest soon after and died.
Dr Chand told the Mirror, “Him having to wait overnight in the waiting room with his wife is something that stuck with me when I went home that evening.
“It’s not common for me to speak to my wife about work, but I said to her that today was particularly tough. Having him inside A&E instead of in that waiting room would have been more dignified.”
He then revealed that it is no longer uncommon for patients having to wait 10 hours to see a doctor and getting a bed in a ward can take days. He added that when he first started working in 2018, he would see about 350 patients at the A&E in a day. But now, that number has shot up to 500.
He continues, “The burden of worry each time I turn up for work in the morning has increased, I’m thinking, ‘We are full and how are we going to deal with it if pressure increases? It’s also mentally fatiguing when you go home. I’m thinking about work a lot more than I used to.
“I feel on more occasions than I ever have before that we are not delivering the care I would like to. My colleagues and I want to do more but can’t because of the circumstances around us. We are stretched.” Dr Chand says A&E becomes jammed when other wards have no space to take patients.
“Each year gets harder. There’s no wiggle room. Today the department is good but it is on a knife-edge.”