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Facing Severe Shortages, British Hospitals Delay Surgeries, Turn Away Patients
12 January 2018, 10:37 | Kelvin Horton
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Scarborough Hospital has been in the spotlight after a doctor spoke out about the pressures staff are facing.
An emergency medicine consultant at a Midlands hospital, who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for his colleagues, told the BMA consultants from across his trust had offered to help but had been unable, with the entire emergency department full and no room in which to operate. Cancer diagnosis and treatment appointments will not be delayed.
Emergency care chiefs had previously warned The Independent that Christmas Day usually provides a lull, but this year it had felt like "just another very bad day". "With one stroke victim waiting over three hours for an ambulance it is understandable how clinicians are calling this the worst crisis they have ever seen".
A number of ambulance services are also under severe pressure, with two even resorting to taxis to ferry patients to hospital.
Of the four trusts, the poorest performing was East Kent Hospitals University Foundation NHS Trust, which is responsible for the William Harvey Hospital, the Kent and Canterbury hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mary hospital in Thanet. A total of 172 were delayed by between 30 minutes and one hour, while 24 were held up for longer than an hour.
Trust bosses said patients are being forced to wait for up to 12 hours in A&E, while some have been left on trolleys in corridors because beds were not available.
An NHS England spokesperson said: "Hospitals, GPs, ambulances and other frontline NHS services have been extremely busy between Christmas and New Year, reporting higher levels of respiratory illness and some indications of increasing patient illness severity and flu".
"As with all parts of the NHS we have been very busy this week and last week in particular".
The NHS, which delivers free health care for all citizens in England, accounts for a third of government spending on public services, Reuters noted.
The figures, released by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) yesterday, show that an average of more than 1,700 patients per day poured through the doors of A&Es here at the peak of this year's festive season.
She said: 'Can I say a huge thank you to NHS staff for their hard work, they work hard and do a fantastic job for us day in and day out all year round, but obviously there are extra pressures in winter.
"The fact of the matter is that, despite the best efforts of all NHS staff, patient safety is being compromised daily".
Figures from NHS England show more than 480,000 people called the service last week, which is a rise of 21% on the previous seven days.
Patients in Wales who have had routine operations cancelled due to winter pressures on the NHS have had an apology from Welsh Government Health Secretary Vaughan Gething, he said he was "genuinely sorry" if people's treatment had been interrupted. The recommended safe limit is 85 per cent.
Just before New Year, Karen Kay, Urgent and Emergency Care Executive Lead for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: "Our urgent and emergency care system is under considerable pressure at the moment".
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No resource spared to improve hospital overcrowding - Harris
She said that under HSE policy, the joint chairpersons of the Emergency Department Task Force must be notified in advance of this. In Dr Susan O'Reilly's plan, these two hospitals are supposed to take patients from Portlaoise if it is downgraded.