‘My 82-year-old husband spent over 15 hours on a trolley before he was finally admitted to hospital’

0 7

“It was like being transported to a Third World country in a war zone. There were people everywhere, on chairs, in wheelchairs, on the floor – lots of very sick-looking children and lots of people coughing.”

The scene at Macclesfield District General Hospital witnessed by retired nurse Alison Morton helps to explain why her former colleagues will walk out on strike on Thursday and why they are so concerned about the future of the NHS.

Ms Morton, a health professional for 50 years, has been left “shocked to the core” by what she saw at the hospital and by the fact that it took more than 15 hours in A&E for her seriously ill 82-year-old husband to be admitted.

She witnessed patients lined up in corridors at the hospital, part of East Cheshire NHS Trust, after her husband, Jim, arrived last Monday night.

“Jim was put through to the urgent care area and put on a trolley” she told i. “There were people everywhere again – on chairs, on trolleys, standing up. Every room and every corridor was full to bursting with people.”

Mrs Morton said the experience left her “wholeheartedly” in support of nurses going on strike as they fight for better pay and working conditions.

Around 100,000 Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members will walk out of hospitals across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday over real-terms pay cuts, which it says is putting patient safety at risk. The RCN is campaigning for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation as measured by the retail prices index which is currently more than 14 per cent. Health Secretary Steve Barclay has called the demand “unaffordable”.

In July, the Government said it accepted the recommendations of the independent pay review body which has given over one million NHS staff – including nurses, paramedics and midwives – a pay rise of at least £1,400 with lowest earners to receive up to 9.3 per cent. The average rise is around 4.5 per cent. But nurses say it is not enough after years of real-terms pay cuts which have exacerbated staffing problems.

Nursing vacancies have reached a record high of 47,496 in England alone, according to latest data from NHS Digital, with record numbers quitting the profession due to stress and burnout.

The RCN says staffing levels are so low that patient care is being compromised. “Only by paying nursing staff fairly will we recruit and retain people in our profession,” a spokesperson said.

Mrs Morton, who spent 12 years as an operating theatre nurse, then 14 years as a health visitor, ending her NHS career as a senior nurse for child protection, said: “I’m not surprised nurses are leaving the profession in droves, only that so many are staying and working so hard. In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like what I witnessed on Monday evening…. One of the nurses referred to it as being like working in a war zone.

Alison Morton said she was ‘shocked to the core’ at the scenes she witnessed at her local A&E this week (Photo: Alison Morton)

“I’ve worked in the operating theatre at night, with multiple casualties coming in from a road accident or fight, but it was nothing like this. I could see that everything was being done as efficiently as possible, with the utmost care and attention. The nursing staff were unfailingly kind and compassionate as well as totally professional and on the ball for each and every patient – but that comes at a cost.”

Mr Morton had been suffering internal bleeding – something that had occurred before, twice necessitating hospital admission and once a blood transfusion – for three days before it suddenly worsened. The couple’s GP surgery does not provide an out of hours service so they drove to A&E after being told getting it would take up to 40 minutes to get through to NHS 111.

He eventually got a bed at midday on Tuesday after 15.5 hours in A&E – the pressure and activity on the corridors had continued unabated right through the morning.

East Cheshire NHS Trust said it could not comment on individual cases and encouraged people to only attend A&E “for serious accidents and emergencies”.

A spokesperson said: “The NHS is currently experiencing high levels of demand and our Emergency Department (A&E) at Macclesfield Hospital is no exception to this. Unfortunately, this demand has meant that some patients who need to be admitted have had to wait for long periods in the department and measures are in place to maintain the safety, care and dignity of patients while they wait.

“We are continuing to work closely with our health and social care partners to ensure patients are safely discharged from hospital care and beds made available to reduce long A&E waits. We would like to apologise to those affected.”

More from Health

One nurse in the north west of England told i: “I’m really, really angry about what’s going on. We don’t have anywhere near enough staff and we’re completely overwhelmed. Some people are waiting for hours and hours because more urgent cases come in and take priority. So people are getting really tired and cranky – and it’s no-one’s fault but the Government’s – we’ve been underfunded for years now.”

Another striking nurse in the same region said: “We’re not just striking for more money, although of course that’s important – we haven’t had a decent pay rise for years and prices are just going up and up.

“We’re also striking for patient care – what’s happening here is going on up and down the country and patients just aren’t getting the care they should. This isn’t how I want to nurse, it’s not how I was taught to nurse – it’s just papering over the cracks instead of helping people to get better.”

Downing Street suggested this week that striking NHS workers could be targeted as part of Rishi Sunak’s promised “tough” new measures to curb a wave of industrial action. RCN members in Scotland have paused strike action as the Scottish Government’s improved pay offer is being put to members.

Mrs Morton said: “This is a national scandal and a very real, life-threatening crisis. We used to have a health service that was the envy of the world – now it’s a laughing stock and travellers tell of far superior health care abroad, especially in Europe and Australia. It’s a very far cry from the NHS I was proud to be a part of in the early 70s.

“If the nurses don’t strike, if they don’t bring this state of affairs to the attention of the nation, they’re just going to burn out and leave. Who will look after us then?”

FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Trusted Bulletin is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.