The BBC recently reported that 68 senior Accident & Emergency (A&E) doctors wrote and signed a letter sent to the Prime Minister, which outlined the risks hospital patients have been facing over the winter. The BBC reports that the letter sets out how the pressure on hospitals over the recent weeks has impacted the service provided by hospitals. Patients have had to sleep in makeshift wards in side rooms, wait in ambulances because of the lack of space in A&E Departments and also wait up to 12 hours for a free bed.
Some patients have had to be examined and managed in corridors and the letter reports that some have died prematurely.
Dr Adrian Boyle, chairman for quality at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the Society for Acute Medicine, recognises that “excessive crowding within emergency departments is associated with avoidable deaths”.
According to NHS England, hospitals work towards a target of seeing patients within 4 hours. Official NHS figures revealed that England’s A&E Departments missed this target in December 2017. Over 300,000 patients waited for much longer than they should, with only 85.07% of patients being seen within the 4 hours, much lower than the 95% target.
Mr Chris Hopson, of NHS Providers (a membership organisation and trade association for NHS trusts), has acknowledged that hospitals are currently unsafe and over-crowded and an NHS report has found that just last week, 133 of the 137 hospital trusts in England had run out of beds.
In a BBC Radio 4’s Today interview, Mr Hopson said this is the “first time ever” in NHS history that all of its key targets for A&E, cancer and planned operations across the UK had been missed. He feels that it is not possible to deliver the NHS constitutional standard without having a long term funding settlement in place.
The Leicester Mercury reports that hospitals in Leicester are facing increased pressure due to a rise in the number of operations since Christmas, and are consequently having to cancel all ‘non-urgent’ appointments. This followed a decision to cancel all non-emergency surgery over Christmas and New Year in a bid to free up beds in preparation for the surge in patients that was expected over the holiday period.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is said to currently be at its highest level of pressure, which could result in patient safety being subject to increased risk.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors is concerned about the delay in patients receiving treatment and the impact that this could have on patient safety. Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in all aspects of clinical negligence matter and have specialist experience of dealing with claims involving negligence in both NHS and private services.
If you have concerns regarding the care or treatment that you have received, please contact us on 0116 254 7456 for a no obligation conversation.