Pensioner waits for five hours for ward

AS numbers of patients in Accident and Emergeny at Ipswich Hospital soar, one pensioner spent five hours in a cubicle - when she did not even need to be in that department.

By Jessica Nicholls

AS numbers of patients in Accident and Emergeny at Ipswich Hospital soar, one pensioner spent five hours in a cubicle - when she did not even need to be in that department.

The woman, who does not want to be named in case she needs further treatment, had been sent to hospital by her GP, to be admitted to a ward.

With no beds available and doctors on mid-afternoon ward rounds, the 82-year-old had to sit in a cubicle in A&E waiting to be admitted.

Ipswich Hospital has been under extreme pressure in recent weeks with more patients than ever coming through the doors. Last weekend 20 emergency ambulances arrived at the Heath Road site in an hour and a half.

As revealed yesterday in the Evening Star, bosses at the East Anglian Ambulance Trust fear that if levels of calls increase with the onset of winter it could affect their ability to reach patients on time.

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Some are having to wait at Ipswich Hospital with their patients until they can be seen by nursing staff.

The pensioner's daughter who was with her at the hospital said: "She was told by the staff in A&E that she was a medical patient and not A&E.

"They told her she would have to wait a bit longer because the medical people were doing their rounds. Because they knew she was coming in she went straight into a cubicle, but she needed to be somewhere else.

"It just did not make sense."

The woman said her mother, who is from Ipswich, had been in and out of hospital this year, needing a hip replacement.

She came home a few weeks ago but within days, cellulitis a skin infection in her leg, flared up and the doctor came to see her on a Monday afternoon – traditionally the hospital's busiest day.

The woman's daughter said: "I could not believe it – there were four ambulances there when we turned up. There were people on trolleys in the gangways between the cubicles – I have never seen anything like it before.

"But the staff were really good and were bringing her cups of tea and sandwiches."

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital denied that this patient's situation was typical.

She said: "The last couple of weeks have been exceptional and have been the most difficult ever.

"But our staff have been magnificent and we are doing everything we can to make sure that people get the right care in the right place at the right time.

"There have been moments that because of the sheer influx of emergency patients that people have not reached the right destination straight away."

Ms Rowsell said that despite the immense pressure the staff were coping and were very grateful to the public for bearing with them.

She said that there was a lot of work going on across the NHS to try and free up beds with some outreach teams, such as for people with breathing difficulties, who can treat people from home.

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