A&E Waits: ‘I don’t blame the staff, I blame the system’
Local councillor shares experience of mum’s 36 hour wait
By Natalie Bloomer
A Northampton councillor has spoken out about the need for government action after his mother suffered a stroke and was left waiting 36 hours to be admitted to the correct hospital ward.
Cllr Enam Haque called an ambulance on Friday afternoon after his mother had a fall. Once paramedics arrived they suspected the 83 year-old had actually had a stroke and rushed her to the Accident and Emergency department at Northampton General Hospital.
Cllr Haque’s mother was quickly taken to the resuscitation bay and then had a CT scan which confirmed the paramedic’s fears. After being observed overnight she was moved to a bay in the main A&E department where a long wait began for her to be admitted to the stroke ward.
Over the period of around 36 hours from when she first arrived at NGH Mrs Askira Bibi was taken to two different assessment wards before finally getting a bed in the correct part of the hospital.
“It was very stressful. You hear about these delays in hospitals but I have never experienced it personally before,” Cllr Haque told NN Journal.
“I was with her throughout that time and witnessed how hard all the staff were working with limited resources and how much pressure they are under. In some ways we were one of the lucky ones because my mum was prioritised because it was a stroke.
“The NHS needs a government intervention, it’s a service most of us will need at some point and it is in crisis. I don’t blame the staff, I blame the system. The doctors, nurses and others are working incredibly hard but years of underfunding has left A&E departments in a bad state.”
Northampton General Hospital saw people queuing out the door at A&E during the recent hot weather with staff forced to hand out water and create shelters for people to wait under.
This week the Independent reported that ‘apocalyptic’ waits in A&E departments could be causing 1,000 deaths a month with the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson, saying the increase in A&E waiting times is the result of “decades of underfunding” and “unheeded warnings”.
Cllr Haque says he would like to thank the staff at NGH for the ‘brilliant work they do day in and day out’ and says they deserve better pay and recognition.
A spokesperson for Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust said:
"We are seeing a very high demand for our emergency and urgent care services currently, with an average of 400 people visiting our Emergency Department (ED) daily.
“Patients who need urgent life-saving care will go straight into the resuscitation area for immediate treatment. All other patients are seen and triaged within 15 minutes of arrival to the ED. Patients are then treated in order of severity of illness of injury, which means that some people will always wait longer than those who are seriously unwell.
“Our teams are working very hard to provide high quality care despite the pressures on our urgent care services. We recognise that experiencing long waits can lead to people getting frustrated, but we ask that people be patient, kind and considerate to our staff at all times.
“When a patient requires specialist care, such as stroke care, the patient will be stabilised in ED and then the specialist team will treat the patient until a bed on a ward becomes available. All parts of the NHS in Northamptonshire, and across the whole country, are currently very busy, which slows down the flow of patients in and out of hospital.
“We would again ask for our local community to help us by using www.111.nhs.uk if illnesses or injuries are not life threatening. You will receive advice straight away and if required, a clinician (health professional) will call you back. Pharmacies are also able to offer health advice and suggest medicines or treatments for very common complaints such as colds, sunburn and insect bites.”