A&E like war zone, says Queen’s Hospital doctor

15:57 06 March 2014

Dr Saleyha Ahsan in Syria

Dr Saleyha Ahsan in Syria


Working as an A&E doctor is like being a medic in a war zone, according to one emergency unit locum at Queen’s Hospital.

Dr Saleyha Ahsan has worked in places torn by armed conflict across the world, including Syria, but said some of her “most stressful moments” were while on duty at the Rom Valley Way unit, the busiest A&E in the country.

Dr Ahsan began working as a temporary doctor at the Romford hospital in December and also filmed behind the scenes with a national newspaper.

Shocking footage showed a person in a critical condition being moved from their room in order to find the space to resuscitate a two-year-old girl.

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Ashan said: “I have worked as a doctor in various conflicts and yet some of my most stressful moments, facing a tidal wave of pressure, have happened closer to home, in Queen’s Hospital.”

But the chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, Averil Dongworth, said filming was done during the hospital’s busiest periods. She said: “Emergency departments across the country are extremely busy and we know that ours is one of the very busiest.

“We know that some patients are having to wait longer than we would like, but it was pleasing that the Care Quality Commission highlighted in its December report that those in the department were being well looked after. Patient feedback confirms that.

“This article was written over Christmas and New Year – the very busiest times for any A&E.”

But Redbridge Cllr Andy Walker, of the Save King George Hospital Party, believes this underlines the need to save the Goodmayes hospital’s A&E from closure plans next year, with the overspill absorbed by Queen’s.

He said: “Queen’s is heading towards a Mid-Staffs situation unless more resources are found.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and it discourages people to go to A&E.”

He believes councils need to listen to the doctors who work in the department rather than the hospital’s executives.

Queen’s was built to treat 90,000 patients a year but now receives 140,000.


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