A&E delays caused by winter flu crisis are killing 500 each week, top doctor warns

UP TO 500 people could die each week from NHS delays caused by the winter flu crisis, a top doctor has warned.

More than a dozen ambulance services and NHS trusts have unleashed critical incidents in recent days as flu and Covid add pressure to the strained system.

500 people could die every week due to NHS delays caused by the winter flu crisis

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500 people could die every week due to NHS delays caused by the winter flu crisisPhoto credit: Getty
The warning came from Dr. Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine

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The warning came from Dr. Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency MedicineCredit: Adrian Boyle

dr Adrian Boyle, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “We went into this December with the worst performance ever against our target and the highest occupancy rate ever in hospital.

“We don’t know about the wait times because they’re only coming out in a few weeks – I’d be amazed if they aren’t the worst we’ve seen.

“We believe between 300 and 500 people die every week as a result of delays and problems in emergency and emergency care.”

A patient was forced to wait 99 hours on a stretcher for a bed at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, where a clinician said: “We’re broken and nobody’s listening”.

Cancer patient Keith Royles, 85, lay on his patio in the rain for seven hours after breaking his hip mowing the lawn.

His family, who tried to keep him dry with a makeshift shelter, said his home in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, was directly opposite the local hospital – but an ambulance could not be called.

Retired Postmistress Marie Grubb, 82, from Wadebridge, Cornwall, had to wait 31 hours for an ambulance after breaking her hip in a fall.

And three-year-old Heidi Hook, who suffered from scarlet fever and croup, was forced to sleep on plastic chairs while waiting hours to be seen at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

NHS figures show a total of almost 38,000 patients waited more than 12 hours in the emergency room in November before a decision was made on which hospital ward they should be sent to – a shocking 355 per cent increase since the same time last year.

Data released Friday showed 3,746 patients with the flu were hospitalized every day, including 267 in intensive care. In the month there were a total of 520.

dr Boyle warned: “If you look at the graphs, they’re all going in the wrong direction.

“We need to increase our capacity in our hospitals, we need to make sure there are alternative routes so people aren’t all just channeled to the ambulance and emergency room.

“We cannot go on like this – it is unsafe and undignified.” Saffron Cordery, interim CEO of NHS Providers, said the pressure was commensurate with the early stages of the pandemic.

Keith Royles lay on his patio in the rain for seven hours after breaking his hip mowing the lawn

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Keith Royles lay on his patio in the rain for seven hours after breaking his hip mowing the lawnPhoto credit: WNS

She said: “That’s still coming through the door but then we also have the legacy of Covid – a worn-out workforce. We have even more vacancies, now up to 133,000 across the NHS.”

Nurses will strike again on January 18 and 19, and ambulance workers will strike on January 11 and 23 straight over pay and working conditions.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/7032262/ae-delays-winter-flu-killing-people/ A&E delays caused by winter flu crisis are killing 500 each week, top doctor warns

Emma James

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