An Edinburgh hospital has been slammed after an elderly woman was left in a corridor for 17 hours before being treated by medical staff.
The son of the 88-year-old says he feared losing his mum after she was left in the corridor at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh while suffering from an infection that medics had classed as an 'emergency situation'. Shockingly the delays didn't begin at the hospital with the family made to wait two hours for an ambulance despite being told by NHS 24 that it was necessary to transport the elderly patient safely.
Speaking anonymously to Edinburgh Live, he said: "My mum took ill on Sunday night. We phoned NHS24 and there was then a two hour wait for an ambulance that arrived around 1am Monday and took her in right away.
"The doctor had assessed her and said they were arranging a bed so I left the hospital at 3am. By the time I came back at 3pm (when I took the photo), she was still on the trolley. The waiting room was pandemonium, literally standing room only.
"The part where I took the photo was in section C of the emergency department and was the quietest but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t taking a photo which identified anyone. Sections A and B of the emergency department were just full to the gunnels with patients and every spare inch of wall had a trolley and patient parked up, as well as all the pods which were full.
"My mum was eventually given a bed by 6pm which meant she’d been on a trolley in the corridor for 17 hours. She’s 88 years old."
He continued: "I think one of the main factors is that people can’t get to see their GPs so they are pitching up at A&E and the poor staff at the hospitals are having to deal with this.
"I think there’s also a fear from the hospitals that elderly patients will take up beds. We got a phone call asking if we could take my mum back to her house at one point and they were going to arrange for a team to visit her twice a day to administer medication.
"With no social car package, it's totally unacceptable. The lack of funding has meant that there’s a real stand-off between the hospitals wanting to avoid bed-blocking and social services trying to protect their budgets and resources.
"The convalescence beds and hospitals that used to exist in Edinburgh just aren’t there anymore. Most of the hospitals that would cater for patient recovery have been demolished with luxury flats being built on top of the land."
He added: "We desperately need a government that will invest in the NHS but with the current state of the Tories and Labour there’s no sign of that coming in the future."
In a statement, Scottish Government officials apologised to the family but stressed the pressure A&E departments are facing this winter.
A government spokesperson said: “Excessively long waits are never acceptable and we are sorry to hear that this patient’s experience fell short of what everyone should expect.
“A&E departments continue to experience significant pressure and, in common with healthcare systems in the UK and globally, the pandemic is still impacting services. Recovery will not happen overnight and we are working to reduce system pressure as we enter what will be an extremely challenging winter period.
“We are supporting services through our £600 million winter plan which will see us recruit 1,000 new NHS staff, including up to 750 frontline nurses from overseas. Our £50 million Urgent and Unscheduled Care Collaborative looks to drive down A&E waits by offering alternatives to hospitals, such as Hospital at Home; directing people to more appropriate urgent care settings and scheduling urgent appointments to avoid long waits."
“A&E pressures are being driven by delays in discharge elsewhere in our hospitals. That’s why a key focus of our winter plan is on social care and actions to encourage integration authorities to help ease delays.”
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