Patients being treated in corridors in UK hospitals: Report
Patients left stranded on trolleys for hours and forced to have treatment in corridors is becoming a familiar scene in British hospitals, presenting a "worrying picture" for the authorities.world Updated: May 13, 2012 20:38 IST
Patients left stranded on trolleys for hours and forced to have treatment in corridors is becoming a familiar scene in British hospitals, presenting a "worrying picture" for the authorities.
Nurses in Britain say patients are being forced to have treatment in corridors partly due to the loss of hospital beds, the BBC reported.
The Royal College of Nursing says feedback received from more than 1,200 staff paints a "worrying picture", with patients regularly being in ambulances or held in a queue or left stranded on trolleys for hours.
The government, however, said there were enough beds for this not to be happening.
Health minister Simon Burns said: "There is no excuse for patients to be left waiting on trolleys.
"The NHS has beds free and available, and hospitals should be supporting their nurses to ensure that patients are admitted to them quickly. We will not hesitate to take action where we find hospitals failing to do so."
Of the 1,246 nurses and healthcare assistants who replied to an RCN request for feedback, a fifth said providing care in corridors had become a daily occurrence.
Half said they had encountered patients facing long waits on trolleys - with some aware of people being left for 24 hours without a bed, the BBC reported.
The RCN said that was putting patients at risk by potentially leaving them without access to essential equipment such as oxygen supplies and heart monitoring equipment as well as compromising their privacy and dignity.
Other problems highlighted included ambulances being forced to queue outside emergency units and patients being put in unsuitable wards, the BBC said.
The RCN said the crisis was being caused by a combination of staff shortages, the long-standing drive to reduce the number of beds in hospitals and the rise in emergency admissions.
RCN general secretary Peter Carter said frontline staff were being placed under "huge stress", adding the NHS was at risk of going "backwards".
"Treating patients on corridors and areas not designed for care is a high-risk strategy, which can have a serious impact on patient care."