A shocking image shows a long row of hospital patients on beds lining the corridor of a struggling Liverpool Accident and Emergency department.
The image was taken last Saturday evening inside the A&E at Aintree Hospital, with reports some people had been waiting for 24 hours to be seen. It is a scene that is becoming commonplace in hospitals across the country as the NHS buckles under a perfect storm of continued covid cases, staff absences and a huge backlog of work.
This image was sent to the ECHO by a man who had taken a family member to A&E. He was shocked by what he will witness inside the hospital as staff struggled to keep on top of the volume of patients coming in.
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He said: “There were people in the corridor in trolley beds as far as I could see. I had never seen anything like it. All the staff, the nurses and doctors were brilliant and were doing their best, but to see so many peoples ‘ loved ones left in a hallway like that for hours on end was heartbreaking.”
He added: “One young lady I spoke with had been waiting to be seen since 4am and this was now about 5pm. I am a big supporter of the NHS but I have never seen it under so much pressure.”
Local health bosses say services are under serious strain and have urged people not to attend A&E unless they have a ‘life-threatening emergency.’ Dr Janet Bliss, a local GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organization that plans health services for the city, said: “We know that sometimes patients are unsure about what to do if they become unwell. Particularly during weekends and bank holidays when their GP practice is closed, but we want to let people know that NHS help is still available when you need it.
“We would strongly urge people not to turn up at one of our busy local hospital A&E departments without an appointment, unless it really is a life-threatening emergency. Instead, please call NHS 111 so that you can be directed to the right care and get seen as quickly as possible.”
ing to the image above, Professor Respond John Brennan, Interim Medical Director at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At the moment we are experiencing a significant demand on our services. Regrettably, this means that on occasion we have a small number of patients waiting in our Emergency Department corridor.
“This is clearly not ideal and we are doing everything we can do avoid this. The safety and welfare of these patients is our priority and they are cared for by assigned nurses. We’d ask that people only come to our Emergency Departments if they have a serious medical emergency and to seek alternative services for other less urgent concerns.”
The scenes at Aintree are being replicated across the country as the NHS and its pandemic-weary staff face mounting pressures in all departments. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers said the current situation facing the health service is a ‘serious worry.’
He added: “Where’s the NHS up to? Flat out, doing its best for patients, as ever. But struggling with covid and impact of long term fault lines. Concerning pressure, despite front line effort.” He said he and other health leaders agree this is ‘the longest most sustained period of NHS pressure they have seen in their careers.’