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A&E patients waiting more than two days for a bed, warns leaked letter

A clinical director and several senior managers have written to a trust CEO warning that patients are routinely waiting more than 60 hours to be admitted to a ward from accident and emergency, leaving staff “crying with frustration and anger”.

In a letter to executives at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, seen by HSJ, the managers say they lack support from the rest of the trust, and claim the emergency department at Royal Preston Hospital has a “never-ending elasticity in the eyes of others”.

The letter, dated 30 March, is signed by clinical director Graham Ellis, two unit managers, the specialty business manager, and the matron.

It says: “Whilst we have documented our concerns previously the current situation is worse than it has ever been…Our situation is increasingly precarious…

“For the past few months we have on a regular basis had more than 50 patients waiting for a bed and that wait being in excess of 60 hours.

“This means that at most times there is limited or no space to accommodate newly acutely ill patients causing ambulance handover delays of over four hours and delay in treatment.”

Clinicians at Preston have been raising safety concerns about the ED for several years, but the letter is the first time concerns of senior managers have been made public.

The letter references research which suggests patients die as a “direct result from long waits in ED”, and says there has been an increase in clinical incidents, pressure sores, detrimental outcomes, and occasions where patients “die without the dignity of privacy”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 4 April 2022


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