‘Critical’ hospital A&E department is ‘like a madhouse’, elderly patient says

Patients have told how a sign at the A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is currently warning patients of a 217 minute wait to be seen by doctors

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Patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have described the Accident and Emergency as a ‘madhouse’ where the NHS Trust has declared a critical incident.

Only a few weeks ago, a video showed a queue of ambulances waiting to ‘for hours’ get into A&E bays to unload their patients from across the Fylde Coast.

But today the same scene was replaced with a new sign of the Covid-19 emergency – an interactive screen warning patients that there was a 217 minute wait to be triaged.

Frank Nanson, 86, a retired microwave engineer from Lytham St Annes had arrived early for his follow up appointment to see the results of an MRI after dislocating his shoulder a few weeks ago, but was told that due to ‘Covid delays’ the results wouldn’t be available for another two weeks.

The Trust has taken the decision to temporarily ban visitors


Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

He said: “I’ve had an x-ray and an MRI scan and I was expecting to see the results of that today with my consultant but because of Covid that’s not come through so straight away the effect of Covid slowing things down is clear.

“It didn’t seem too bad today in outpatients but I know it’s a madhouse in A&E.

“When I was there a few weeks ago with my shoulder it was frantic.

“After I fell out of bed and dislocated my shoulder they told us that the ambulance might not be there for two or three hours.

“It came in 15 minutes so that was a relief but we were in the back of the ambulance for about an hour giving me pain killers until we even set off back to the hospital.”

Blackpool Victoria is one of 12 hospitals across the country that has declared a critical incident as the new Covid wave sweeping the country has worsened the condition of many patients and seen staff shortages as they fall ill with the virus and are forced to self isolate.

The Trust has taken the decision to temporarily ban visitors, with anyone entering the hospital asked to check-in as a patient or carer before being given a new fresh face mask and forced to dispose of their own.

Staff members leaving the hospital car park for a quick break, could be overheard discussing their concerns about whether they should even be working – as they had been “suffering with a cough for a week” and hadn’t yet been able to do a PCR test.

One staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that she had only just returned to work today after being off with Covid for the last two weeks.

Victoria Hospital, Blackpool has declared a critical incident


Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)

The same interactive screen displayed outside the doors of A&E also warned that there were currently 86 patients in the Emergency Department with a 6 minute 38 second wait to see a doctor.

Another patient described a scene from inside the hospital: queues of patients with breathing apparatus on trolleys in corridors waiting to be seen.

The man, who did not wish to be named, was having treatment for a sprained ankle and in the Urgent Care Department of the Hospital after going through A&E yesterday.

He said: “It doesn’t look busy but it is.

“Yesterday I went through A&E and was then sent to x-ray and there was a line of people with tubes and on trolleys waiting in the corridor to be seen.

“There’s people sitting down that have just gone to A&E that have been sitting there for eight or nine hours. It looks quiet from outside but it’s deceptive.

“It only looks quiet because it’s patients only and they’re checking people at the doors for appointments and getting them in for them.

“I’ve heard nurses say I’ve got to go now because I’ve been called over to another ward because they’re short staffed there.”

An elderly woman who was being escorted by her husband after taking a fall and injuring her hip four weeks ago said people were “lucky” to have never had the misfortune of having to visit Blackpool Victoria which “used to be a good hospital”.

The woman who wanted to remain anonymous said: “We’ve been here plenty of times recently and it’s terrible. We’ve had a nine hour wait and a six hour wait both times.”

Yesterday an internal critical incident was declared at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which is responsible for Blackpool Victoria Hospital and two smaller community hospitals – Clifton Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital.

In a memo, Trish Armstrong-Child, chief executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said more people are being admitted to hospital each day than are being discharged and high staff sickness absence levels were impacting day to day operations.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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