“I CAN’T believe what is going on,” a hospital patient has said after waiting on one of many beds lining the corridors at Dudley’s main hospital which has been struggling to cope with the volume of patients needing emergency care.

Stourbridge man Glyn Anslow told the News it took 10 hours to be seen by a doctor after he arrived at the Emergency Department at Russells Hall Hospital before he discovered he had suffered multiple broken ribs and a punctured liver in a fall at home.

He said: “The nurse told me it’s normal to wait 10 to 12 hours to see a doctor. I said ‘no it’s not – the window is four hours’. I can’t believe what’s going on. My wife worked in the NHS so I know what they are telling me is wrong.”

Stourbridge News:

As he waited overnight to be seen – Mr Anslow reported: “They are queuing in beds in the corridor, about 27 beds. Most have been here for 24 hours or more – so much so that a couple of patients discharged themselves.

“No beds have been available for over a day now. I was told by one of the nurses that this is an average Monday, so it’s not a one off. I overheard a nurse say to a patient they have been filling the corridors since before Christmas and it usually stays like this until late March/April. It seems it’s the norm filling up the corridors.”

Urgent and emergency services at the Dudley Group were given a ‘requires improvement’ rating following inspections in May 2019 by Care Quality Commission inspectors and the trust has an overall rating of ‘requires improvement’.

A report, published in July 2019, highlighted how inspectors “were not assured that all patients allocated to wait on the corridor were safe”.

Commenting on current pressures - Karen Kelly, chief operating officer at the Dudley Group, said emergency department teams were working "hard to provide the safest possible care to patients at an incredibly busy time".

She added: "All patients are triaged and clinically assessed on arrival and will have a plan of care in place, however they may then wait in order of clinical need for space in the main department or on a ward.

"We would never want patients to have to wait for longer than they would reasonably expect, but due to the number of patients that may attend our emergency department there have been times when they may have to wait in the corridor.

Stourbridge News:

"In these circumstances we ensure there are staff in the corridor to ensure our patients remain safe.

"We apologise to anyone who has experienced a long wait. However, we will always see patients in order of clinical need."

She said the trust has been "seeing unprecedented demand on our services" and she added: "Our emergency admissions increased by 62 per cent in December compared to the previous December while the number of most critically ill patients increased by 23 per cent over the same period.

"These inevitably require more clinical care on arrival and often longer stays in hospital.

"The number of patients arriving by ambulance in December was the highest in three years on top of a year-on-year increase in the number of patients attending ED.

Stourbridge News:

"The Urgent Care Centre is also seeing increased demand, with numbers attending in December up 30.5 per cent from the previous month.

"We continue to ensure our resources are focused for our emergency patients. This has included rearranging all our planned operations and redeploying staff to meet clinical need in line with our escalation policies.

"We continue to invest in additional staff, including most recently in our Acute Medical Unit.

"We have also been successful in our application for £20.3 million of funding to reconfigure our Emergency Department so patients can be seen in a more comfortable environment.

"It is important that people use the most appropriate service, such as seeking the advice of a pharmacist, NHS 111 or the ‘Ask NHS’ app.

"Local GP services also provide extended services, with appointments available at evenings and weekends."