A hospital chief has apologised to patients waiting a long time for beds citing "very challenging circumstances".

An “internal critical incident” was declared at Queen's Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford, on March 12 until the end of the week.

Matthew Trainer, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs the hospital, commented on X that it was "due to bed pressures across the site".

He was responding to journalist Shaun Lintern, health editor at The Sunday Times, who posted a screengrab on March 15 which appeared to be an alert from BHRUT about the internal incident.

Mr Trainer told the Romford Recorder on Sunday (March 17) that the incident has now been stepped down but that its A&E units are "incredibly under pressure".

He said the hospital was seeing a "high number of elderly people" some of whom needed isolation beds for illnesses such as flu.

Many people commented on Romford Recorders Facebook page highlighting long waits in corridors in response to the critical incident.

One woman wrote: "I was in a bed in the corridor for about 10 hours on Monday this week. Others had been there longer."

Another who said their partner was also in the corridor on Monday said: "If I didn't bring food up he would have starved."

Another said it was "absolute carnage" when they attended the week before with "people being treated on beds both sides of corridors".

"Disorganised and shabby, I feel sorry for the medical staff," they added.

One person who arrived by ambulance with a family member the week before said "majors, minors, ICU was all packed" while another said:  "I very much doubt Queens is the only hospital suffering."

A new surgical assessment unit was officially opened in January to treat people with abdominal pain or abscesses to relieve pressure on A&E.

Mr Trainer said: “We’ve stepped down the incident however, like many other hospitals, our A&Es are under incredible pressure. 

"We’re seeing a particularly high number of elderly people who need admission, and in some cases are waiting for isolation beds for illnesses such as flu.

“Our staff are working under very challenging circumstances to provide the best possible care.

"We’re sorry patients are facing long waits and some are being looked after in corridors. 

"They are being cared for on hospital beds, not trolleys or in the back of ambulances, and they’re being seen regularly by doctors, nurses, and therapists.

“We’re working hard to move them onto a ward as soon as possible.”