Friday brief: A & E patients left waiting outside in tent
Plus some sad news from NN Journal, the Labour hopefuls wanting to take on Northampton North MP Michael Ellis and much more
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A & E patients left waiting outside in tent
Patients attending A & E at Northampton General Hospital were forced to wait outside in a tent on Tuesday night before being assessed.
Jo Wilkins took her daughter to the hospital following advice from her GP but says when she arrived she was stopped by a man in a high-vis jacket who told her she would need to take a number and wait in the tent.
Jo says there were around 20 chairs under the temporary shelter but no heating meaning elderly people had to be wrapped in blankets due to the cold.
“There were people sitting there in wheelchairs and mobility scooters wearing pyjamas and slippers. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing, bearing in mind people who go to A & E by their very nature are poorly. A lady took her number and was wailing in pain - at that point you haven’t even got in the door so who is to say if you’re an emergency or not as you’re sitting there waiting to be triaged.
“I felt a deep sense of despair that this is what we have got to. We waited an hour before we were even triaged. I just sat there is utter disbelief. I just think of elderly and vulnerable people I know and can’t imagine what that hour feels like if you’re desperately unwell.
“A friend of mine said that before the tent went up she was left outside for hours with her child in the rain.”
A spokesperson for the hospital said:
“Due to the demand for services and limited space inside of our Emergency Department we are streaming patients before they come into the department. Our team will always ensure patients are seen in priority order and those needing urgent care will move into the department sooner. Sometimes this means there will be a queue outside.
“During the summer we provided a shelter for patients who were queuing to be seen by our streaming team. To support going into the winter months we have made improvements to the shelter to further protect patients from the weather outside.”
News in brief
Three women have made the Labour shortlist to be the parliamentary candidate for the Northampton North constituency.
Health worker Marianne Kimani, GP Laura Davies and solicitor Lucy Rigby will go forward to a local hustings next month where it will be decided by local party members who will take on former attorney general Conservative MP Michael Ellis at the next general election.
Marianne is understood to live in the constituency, whereas Davies, who was the former Shrewsbury parliamentary candidate lives in the county and Rigby, who has stood for Labour in Lincoln in a past general election, is thought to have childhood links to the area.
We’ve made contact with the hopefuls and hope to bring you more news on this soon.
Following a short report earlier this month about the attendance record of the councillors on the North unitary, we now have news about how often the 93 elected to the West unitary have been turning up to meetings.
Using data from the council’s website, NN Journal has worked out that less than a fifth (19 per cent) of councillors have attended every meeting they should have. The 18 councillors who have been to every meeting are: Cllr Addison, Cllr Alwahabi, Cllr Bagot-Webb, Cllr Bowen, Cllr Clark, Cllr Cole, Cllr Fowler, Cllr Gilford, Cllr Gonzalez de Savage, Cllr Holland-Delamare, Cllr Matten, Cllr McCord, Cllr Meredith, Cllr Patel, Cllr Purser and Cllr Randall, Cllr Rumens and Cllr Samiotis.
Just under 14 percent of the councillors have only attended half (or less) of the meetings they were required to. The worst attending councillor is Conservative Cllr Karen Cooper, who represents Bugbrooke and is an assistant cabinet member, but attended less than a third of the eleven meetings she was expected at. The worst attending Labour councillor is Dallington Spencer’s Terri Eales who went along to just 33 per cent of the meetings she should have.
A Conservative councillor’s questions about Northamptonshire schools using teaching assistants in lieu of qualified teachers due to budgetary pressures was shut down at a public meeting this week.
Dorothy Maxwell, who represents Irthlingborough and is a former teacher herself, said at the North unitary’s executive advisory panel meeting, that she had heard that the practice was happening in the county, with pupils being taught by unqualified workers.
When she asked the council’s school’s effectiveness officer Jo Hutchison, whether she had also heard this, cabinet member Cllr Scott Edwards jumped in, preventing the officer from answering and said the question was not related to school effectiveness and that an answer would instead be provided to the councillor in writing.
There are concerns about how under pressure schools will cope with inflation, energy costs and salary increases with the Observer reporting at the weekend that 90 per cent of schools think they may run out of money next year.
Also at the same meeting the future of two schools in Rushden was discussed. There was much confusion from councillors about the long running issue of what will happen to Tennyson Road infant and Alfred Street Junior School, with many councillors on the EAP understanding one of the school buildings would close when the proposed amalgamation happened.
However director of children’s services Anne Marie Dodds said that this was not the current plan and both school sites would remain open. She said it was for governors of the newly amalgamated schools to decide longer term plans.
The EAP can be watched here.
During another frantic week in Westminster, Corby’s MP Tom Pursglove has been sacked from this role as immigration minister by new PM Rishi Sunak. Pursglove, who was first appointed to the position by Boris Johnson in September last year and has worked closely with former home secretary Priti Patel, has been under pressure on a number of occasions while in the role.
A select committee held yesterday (which he had been due to attend before his sacking) heard that the site at Manston airport in Kent where migrants are being held is past the point of being safe.
And as the Guardian exclusively reported earlier this week more than 200 unaccompanied children who have been put up in hotels by the Home office have gone missing.
NN Journal contacted the MP to ask some questions about his time in ministerial office, but did not receive a response.
Members only stories from this week
Our paying members have received two additional stories this week. Subscribe as a paying member to read our reports about the local people going hungry due to the cost of living crisis and a second about children’s services in Northamptonshire.
👻 There will be halloween train rides from Rushden station tomorrow from 4.30pm.
📕 Duston library is having a halloween funday from 10.30am
If you would like your event to be included in our culture section you can email the details