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Hospital Bed Shortages is Leading to Delays in Treatment

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical Negligence

Thousands of sick patients are being made to wait in A&E for hours after being admitted for emergency treatment, according to a recent BBC report.

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The report stated that nearly 475,000 patients were left waiting for more than four hours for a bed on a ward in 2015-16 – almost five times the number in 2010-11.

These statistics reflect our clients’ concerns. We have seen an increase in cases arising out of delays in treatment after attending A&E.

These patients have been assessed and require admission to a ward for further observations or treatment, yet they are often left waiting for many hours before their treatment is commenced.

We have had reports of patients dying or suffering a serious deterioration in their condition before they reach the ward, whilst their families try to provide the care which hospital staff are too stretched to give.

This is extremely concerning and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

  Three quarters of hospitals have reported bed shortages. This dangerous overcrowding, caused by a growing demand on the system, has seen hospitals using side rooms and even corridors to manage the growing number of people waiting on trolleys. One in five people who visit A&E are categorised as in serious need of treatment and have to be admitted to a ward. These patients will have already waited to be seen by doctors in A&E, only to suffer a further wait of more than four hours to be admitted to a ward. Among this one in five are elderly patients with chest pains, broken bones and breathing problems.

This is extremely concerning and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Siva Anandaciva, of NHS Providers which represents hospitals, told the BBC: "These figures are deeply worrying. We are heading into winter in a more fragile state than I have seen in the past 10 years or so.

"Even the historically top-performing trusts are being challenged, which shows that this is an issue affecting all parts of health.

"No-one wants to see people waiting in corridors, side rooms and emergency bays when they should be admitted to a hospital bed. These patients are still under the care of doctors and nurses of course, but it is not ideal for them and we know overcrowding leads to worse outcomes."

Lindsay Holt is a principal lawyer specialising in clinical negligence and healthcare law at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

The clinical negligence solicitors at Slater and Gordon specialise in claims against the NHS, GPs, private doctors and hospitals arising out of negligent medical treatment and acts on behalf of injured victims.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence compensation claim call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.

Medical Negligence Claims, Clinical Negligence Claims

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