Merseyside: Patients face 30-hour wait as NHS crisis deepens

Patients have had to wait up to 30 hours to get a bed in emergency departments across the country (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Patients have been left on the floor of hospital waiting rooms as stressed staff deal with too many people (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Patients have been left lying on the floor in pain in emergency department waiting rooms as they have been forced to wait up to two days for a bed.

NHS Trusts in Merseyside have advised patients not to visit A&E unless their condition is “life threatening” as hospitals face extreme demand this winter.

Eyewitnesses have painted a bleak picture of healthcare, saying doctors have been forced to treat people in corridors and in the back of ambulances while surrounded by other patients.

A patient at the Royal Liverpool Hospital told the Echo: “There was a woman in the waiting room throwing up in bowls but there was no staff to help her so other members of the public helped her clean it up.

“We were told by a member of staff that we had to wait 30 hours for a bed. He had a big three-page list of everyone waiting for a bed.”

Elsewhere at the hospital, reports were circulating that a man had to wait over 24 hours for a bed after suffering a stroke.

An elderly man also had to wait on a trolley in a corridor for more than 30 hours before he could be seen, sources said.

Long lines of ambulances were seen outside Aintree Hospital treating patients in the back of vehicles

Long lines of ambulances could be seen outside Aintree Hospital treating patients in the back of vehicles (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Meanwhile, at nearby Aintree Hospital earlier this week, a fleet of about 15 ambulances queued outside the emergency room entrance, waiting to offload more patients requiring treatment.

A source said: “People waited up to 21 hours just to be seen and there were people on the ground, some from being in so much pain.

“Then people were squeezed in and out of the rooms with drip tubes. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

They said it was “soul crushing” to see staff being subjected to so much stress and felt great sympathy for the nurses who are doing their best to do their job under such difficult circumstances.

At Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, a clinical support worker explained the sheer scale of the problem, saying: “We’re just completely overwhelmed.”

They continued: “The ER has a capacity for about 60 patients and we get 150 at any time now. There are four or five corridors with carts full of patients because there are no beds, it’s just crazy, I’ve never seen it like that .

Patients were seen lying on the floor in pain in Aintree Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department

The NHS crisis has left A&E departments across the country completely overwhelmed (Image: Liverpool Echo)

“We have heart attack patients that we don’t have carts or beds for, so they sit in chairs and wait. We have to ration care, have to decide who gets the next car while there are 20 to 30 people waiting.”

The employee added that while the system typically had a tough few weeks during the winter, the scale of the crisis meant departments were overwhelmed year-round.

The dire situation has also caused many health professionals to quit their jobs after years of service.

To deal with the problem, hospitals across the country have reported “critical incidents” in recent days, allowing them to take action such as: B. Seeking help from other services, redirecting patients to nearby hospitals, and deploying more frontline staff.

Critical incidents are rarely used and are usually reserved only for serious incidents, but trusts have been forced to turn them on for several days at a time to keep up with demand.


A source explained how people at Aintree Hospital were “laying on the floor in pain” (Image: Liverpool Echo)

A Wirral University Teaching Hospital spokesman said: “As seen across the country, we are currently seeing unprecedented demand in the number of patients visiting our emergency department.

“The staff work tirelessly to provide the highest standards of care and ensure our sickest patients are treated first. While the safety of patients in the ER remains a top priority, we have many patients who no longer require hospitalization but require continued support from the community.

“We are working very hard with regional teams, partner organizations and the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to facilitate the safe transfer of patients to our hospitals and the timely discharge of patients from our hospitals.

“Employee health and well-being remain our top priority, especially during times of high demand for our services.

“The Trust has a lot of support for staff such as Counseling, Health and Wellbeing areas, Freedom to Speak Up Guardians and Chaplaincy teams to support staff with any concerns they may have.

“While we have solid plans to ensure the Trust is able to provide all essential services over the winter, we would ask patients to only visit the Emergency Department in emergencies.

“If it’s not an emergency, there are other more appropriate alternatives, such as

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Justin Scacco

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