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Patients dying prematurely in A&E corridors, department heads warn Theresa May
12 January 2018, 06:32 | Myron Mathis
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson during FMQs at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh
Around 5,600 patients waited beyond the targeted four-hour period to be admitted, transferred or discharged after reporting to the hospitals between Christmas Day and Hogmanay.
The doctors end their letter by apologising to patients, and adds: "We feel compelled to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied health professional colleagues and for the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients".
Thousands of patients in Scotland were forced to wait more than four hours in accident and emergency wards over the festive period, official statistics show.
The consultants spell out a series of problems which are now impacting the NHS, including: thousands of patients waiting in ambulances for hours; more than 120 patients a day managed in corridors, with some dying prematurely; an average wait of 10 to 12 hours for a bed; and more than 50 patients at a time waiting for beds in emergency departments.
The Government has a set-target hospital trusts to admit 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
"This year, with the current degree of winter pressure that we are feeling, this is the worst condition that I have ever seen the NHS in", Dr Adrian Harrop, an A&E doctor at Scarborough Hospital, said.
"I am not standing here saying, and we have not said at any stage, that some patients are not waiting longer during these winter times than we would want them to wait".
The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - 57.6%.
"When I limped to X-ray, I counted four people on beds in a corridor", he said.
"A lady joined the queue to see reception to asked why her 90-year-old mother was now still in an ambulance and have been sitting there for over two hours".
"Figures for the first week in January are about to be published by Health Protection Scotland and they show a further doubling of flu rates in Scotland".
"In particular, it was an extremely challenging and demanding New Year weekend, with huge pressure in our A&E department and on our bed capacity".
"We strive to provide high quality and safe care for every one of our patients and our hard-working staff go above and beyond to ensure that patient safety is the highest priority".
At Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Walsall Manor, 7,832 patients, out of 10,123, were seen in four hours - 77.4 per cent, compared to 82 per cent in November and 79 per cent in December 2016. "Our performance, inclusive of all relevant emergency areas, is 81pc, one of the best performing Trusts in the country".
Robison said: "Scotland's accident and emergency departments are continuing to outperform those across the rest of the United Kingdom - and indeed it is to the great credit of NHS staff that even at the height of these exceptional winter pressures, nearly eight out of ten people who attended A&E were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four hour target".
A&E remains closed overnight but wards have been reconfigured to try to increase the number of beds available.
It concludes: "We would like to apologise to our patients for being unable to fulfil our pledge for a safe efficient service and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of staff".
"This situation fluctuates, as this week we have seen a significant improvement in our ambulance handover times".
"While we would not wish to deter anyone from seeking medical treatment, we would ask people to consider alternative options to A&E such as your local pharmacist or calling 111 or downloading our Choose Well App".
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