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Ongoing Concerns at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical and Medical Negligence

Ongoing concerns at Worcester Acute Hospitals have led to a Medical Incident Officer, who usually helps in disaster regions, assisting the Accident & Emergency department following demands from West Midlands Ambulance Service. 

Such an unprecedented step, according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, comes shortly after five A&E Consultants resigned from the Trust in February saying that there was massive overcrowding and that this was causing serious harm to many patients.

The Care Quality Commission is monitoring the situation as in conjunction with such developments, there were two cardiac arrests in corridors in March where patients were waiting to get to the emergency department, leading to the CQC investigating and calling a risk summit for the county.

An unidentified senior clinical member of staff from the Trust is reported to have said, "The problem at the moment is that the Worcestershire hospital is far too small. They can't cope with the number of admissions or the number of walk-in patients that turn up in A&E.

“These things mean we have ended up with a crisis in A&E. They have now drawn little rectangles into the corridors to signify that is a corridor bed. It's incredibly stressful. It becomes a Third World situation where only the very sickest patients can be treated properly."

Accident and Emergency departments across the UK face increasing demands. With this in mind, the NHS needs to ensure that there is effective management of risk and that patients are appropriately dealt with.

Over 14 million people attended A&E last year according to data from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) leading them to publish draft guidance earlier this year to assist on safe staffing and appropriate medical safety to enable effective lessons to be learnt to improve service standards.

Tim Deeming is a Senior Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK who supports patients and their families following substandard clinical care.

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Clinical Negligence, NHS

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