RVI emergency doctors told the BBC’s Today program how pressure on the hospital A&E had resulted in “longer waits” for carts and some patients having to wait “up to 12 or 13 hours” for a bed.
This comes after the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages the RVI, repeatedly broke records for attendance at its A&E in September and October – and staff there are now following calls for a “workforce plan” to help the hospital and helping others across the NHS cope with the crisis.
Dr. Chris Gibbins is the Medical and Emergency Care Trust’s clinical director. He told Today, “It’s clear from the last few years before the pandemic that we have been operating at maximum capacity for really long periods of time in emergency care.
Find the latest coronavirus updates and the latest Covid-19 news here
“And the numbers coming through the emergency room doors are higher than ever. This has been fraught with bed capacity challenges and filling gaps from illness and isolation. We have bed closings due to outbreaks of infection like Covid and the result is huge numbers coming through the front door and insufficient bed capacity to accommodate new emergency rooms. “
Dr. Gibbins talked about how bottlenecks when the hospital faced other operational stresses led to excruciating wait times.
He added: “The team in the emergency room is still seeing the acutely ill and the sickest people as quickly as possible.
“But as more and more people come in to do their care without additional staff, people are waiting to be examined and of course longer to be admitted to other parts of the hospital, so we have longer waiting times for cars to arrive Beds are waiting.
“Now, unfortunately, six or seven hours has become a normal waiting time for a bed and we have seen waiting times of up to 12 or 13 hours, which is terrible for patients, terrible for their families, and really stressful for the staff she must take care of you. “
He said the hospital is taking in 20 to 25 additional patients a day, compared to pre-pandemic levels, “that’s the value of an entire ward’s patients.”
Matron Lewis Gibson told the BBC a similar story. He said, “It feels like we’re stuck in an eternal winter crisis. And that went through from summer on. Yesterday was personally the best thing I’ve ever seen in ED.
“This is a recurring theme, I could have done this two weeks ago, three weeks ago, and every time it gets incrementally worse.”
Another emergency advisor, Ryan Clark, added, “Our concern is not just about long waiting times in bed, but also about what to do. The risk of clinical incidents increases day by day.
“But my big concern is that I’m not sure what to do about it. That’s what worries me most.”
Dame Jackie Daniel, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, said the impact on staff had been remarkable, adding: “The A&E teams were just in full swing. Bags like the intensive care unit and the emergency room are really under pressure.
“And the intake after the visit has also increased by about 6%. We have found that the patients who come to us are worse.”
She said the government may need to re-evaluate the waiting time targets for A&E, adding, “We need to look at what is possible in the new context, especially with regards to emergency and emergency care.”
This week, data from NHS England showed that at Newcastle Hospitals alone, 23,160 people were in the emergency room or emergency room in October. That is almost 2,000 more than in September and compared to 20,601 in October 2019.
Of these people, 360 spent more than four hours in the emergency room before being hospitalized, with a single patient waiting more than 12 hours over the month.
Sign up for our free newsletter here to get the latest local news near you straight to your inbox every day