Hospital faces red alert

PATIENTS arriving at Ipswich Hospital's A&E department had to wait as long as six hours as staff battled to cope with demand.One woman who did not want to be named said she took her son with a suspected broken arm to hospital last night, but had to return home because the wait was so long.

PATIENTS arriving at Ipswich Hospital's A&E department had to wait as long as six hours as staff battled to cope with demand.

One woman who did not want to be named said she took her son with a suspected broken arm to hospital last night, but had to return home because the wait was so long.

She said: "People had been waiting six hours, some with broken limbs, to get dealt with. It is chaos there. The nurses and doctors are understaffed. No-one is up there at all, just two nurses.

"There are kids in agony with broken limbs and not enough staff. I feel sorry for the staff up there."


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She said she would take her son to a private hospital for treatment today

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "We have been extremely busy over the last couple of days. "We were very near a 'red'alert' situation (when just a handful of beds are free) on Monday night and there continues to be a very large number of people needing emergency and urgent treatment coming in, and severe pressure on beds.

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"The A&E department has been very busy and while we are doing everything we can to limit the length of time people have to wait, sadly there are times when we can't see everyone as quickly as we would like to. We have to see the most urgent cases first and that does mean others have to wait."

She said there had been no staffing problem, and added: "It is often very difficult to say, while sitting waiting, all the treatment and care which is taking place in cubicles. It's probably only the triage nurses members of the public see at first, but other doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff are working beyond the waiting room."

In February, A&E staff saw, treated and discharged 85 per cent of patients within four hours.

The spokeswoman added: "It is very frustrating that people have to wait in A&E, and we do appreciate that but we cannot predict how many people will need the service or the level of clinical need."

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