Patients in ambulances are having to wait outside North Manchester General Hospital for up to 10 hours outside accident and emergency. The NHS is under severe pressure as patients needing medical support has vastly risen. This has become an ongoing problem over the past few years and there is yet to be a solution to tackle this issue.
With the rise of elderly people needing social care and deathly illnesses increasing, people are needing more medical attention.
Professor Matt Makin, Medical Director at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said:
“Last year we saw over a third of a million patients requiring urgent care across our hospitals. Our A&E departments have continued to face real pressures throughout the year and we know demand on our services further increases over winter.
“October was a particularly busy and difficult period for A&Es across our patch and nationally, and we reported a larger number of longer waits than usual for patients to be admitted to a hospital ward after being seen by an A&E doctor at our North Manchester site. The situation has improved in November, but we are still facing pressures due to patients not being discharged from our hospital wards home or in the community and therefore not freeing up beds as quickly as required.
“We always aim to see and treat patients attending our three emergency departments and urgent care centre as quickly as possible and provide them with the best possible care. Like most Trusts across the country, we are finding this a challenge due to the flow of patients in and out of hospitals and the large numbers of admissions of patients, particularly those who are elderly and with complex and chronic health conditions.
“Patient safety remains our priority and our staff are working extremely hard to triage and treat those with serious conditions, those who require urgent attention, and critically ill patients brought in by ambulance as a priority. We are sorry that some patients have to wait longer than we would like to be seen by a doctor and also those who are waiting to be admitted and taken to the ward.
Tazeem Akhtar, a regular patient at the hospital said this about the service: “It is appalling and there needs to be a change. It takes so long for one person to be checked up that some people prefer not going to the hospital due to the extremely long wait” .
The professor further said they will continue to work closely as a local healthcare system with the NHS primary care, community care and social care colleagues to speed up treatment, admission and discharge times for the patients. They are working hard to improve the performance, reduce waiting times and find ways to manage the demands on the services.
For example, at the A&E department at North Manchester, a number of measures have been put in place to support staff in A&E to stabilise and strengthen the service. This involves enhanced GP and primary care input directly into the department from Manchester GPs, enhanced community services, and increased physiotherapy and pharmacy staff in A&E. Additional temporary A&E consultant cover from senior clinicians has also been offered from other neighbouring Trusts at the MRI and Salford Royal.
“For some patients, there are alternatives for less serious or minor problems, including your GP and out-of-hours doctor and primary care support, local community pharmacies and the freephone NHS 111 number. These can all direct you to the most appropriate care quickly and efficiently.”
Summary of the statement by the NHS:
- For any patient that is recognised as ‘frail’ is immediately placed on a bed and measures put in place to ensure they suffer no harm from pressure damage etc.
- All patients who are expected to or have waited 6 hours in A&E are transferred onto a bed where all risk assessments are carried out (falls, pressure areas, VTE etc.)
- Patients are not held in corridors but in cubicles in A&E or in medical assessment units before being admitted to a ward
- All patients receive meaningful contact with staff on a regular basis to ensure their needs are met.
- Staff in A&E ensure patients are provided with hot and cold drinks and food; a dedicated housekeeper has been employed to support nursing staff
- The only patients who are in a corridor are the ones who are waiting to be offloaded by the ambulance service (NWAS)
- The Trust currently report all 12-hour A&E breaches via the StEIS system, which is out of line with the majority of other NHS providers.
- We still undertake the analysis of all patients who breach 12 hours to see how things can be improved.
- All patients who breach 12 hours are subject to audit after the event to ensure that the relevant risk assessments have been done