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It’s beyond dreadful. We’re now running A&E out in the corridor and waiting room

The intense pressure on the NHS in recent weeks has left hospitals unable to cope, patients at risk and staff in despair, writes an A&E doctor in this Guardian article.

"I’ve worked in the NHS for over 10 years and I’ve never known it as bad as it is now. A&Es are swamped and primary care is swamped too. It’s a very sorry of state for all concerned. The last few weeks have been beyond dreadful and it was all predicted by those on the ground months ago".

We’re now in a position in our A&E where we are looking after a ward and a half of admitted patients, who take up the bedded spaces, while simultaneously running an emergency department out of the corridor and waiting room. Having to manage the very sick in inappropriate areas is now becoming the norm.

An emergency department (ED) is not a safe place. It’s filled with some of the sickest people in a hospital, in a chaotic environment. There are lots of comings and goings, with patients being moved frequently and staff looking after multiple patients. It’s a recipe for things getting missed.

If you add in the fact that ED personnel work a shift rota, so new staff come on duty every few hours and they don’t necessarily know the patients, there is more scope for potentially vital information being lost.

"As ED doctors, we have always tried to give the dying a place of privacy, where loved ones can be with them in some relative peace. I would hope that same degree of compassion was present in all A&Es, but it’s becoming more challenging to provide."

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Source: The Guardian, 12 January 2023

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