‘Patient waited 20 hours for a bed’ as hospitals hit by winter crisis

Tracy Brabin MP
Tracy Brabin MP

A patient waited almost 20 hours in A&E for a bed to be found as hospital staff worked flat-out to keep up with a surge in winter emergencies.

That is according to Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin, who said she has raised a string of complaints about chaotic scenes in A&E at Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Pinderfields Hospital A&E

Pinderfields Hospital A&E

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which also runs Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals, is among NHS organisations facing staffing problems and rising demand on A&E services.

The government has been accused of not doing enough to avert a winter crisis in the NHS which has led to managers covering shifts on wards and extra hospital beds being opened.

Ms Brabin said: “I understand the festive period is an incredibly busy time for A&E departments and what is very clear is phenomenal NHS staff are working flat-out in ever more difficult conditions. I’d like to thank staff members for their commitment.

“Our community needs to know that Dewsbury hospital has sufficient resources to deal with demand.

“It seems clear that at times over the festive period they fell short of that mark, with one patient denied even a pillow because there were none spare and worryingly, patients faced a long wait to use the toilet because the only two commodes in the department were not getting emptied and cleaned fast enough to keep up with demand.”

NHS organisations around the country are struggling to meet demand in A&E and discharge patients from wards so emergency patients can be given beds.

People are being advised only to go to A&E if they are in a genuine emergency.

Cases of the winter bug norovirus are also at a five-year high, leading to bed closures and further pressure on staffing.

Yesterday, Mid Yorkshire’s director of nursing David Melia said clinical managers were covering shifts on wards to provide extra staff, and more beds were being opened.

He added today: “We’ve been advising the public through all channels possible that, like all hospitals across the country, our A&E departments have been busier than usual over the last week.

“Our hospitals have the resources and expertise to deal with the patients who come through our doors but our issue has been one of capacity.

“We have opened extra beds on the wards and are working with care providers in the community to get the right level of care and support for those patients who no longer need to be in hospital to enable us to admit those who do.”

Bosses at Mid Yorkshire, which is struggling to meet a government target to slash £26m from its budget this financial year, are planning to centralise A&E care at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

The trust believes it will be safer for Dewsbury A&E to become an “urgent care centre” treating minor ailments so the most serious emergencies can be seen by specialists at Pinderfields.

But Ms Brabin said questions were being raised over whether move should go ahead.