Patient told to wait 22 hours in Queen’s Hospital A&E due to ‘high demand’ for services

Queen's Hospital in Romford is the flagship of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals

Queen's Hospital in Romford is the flagship of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust - Credit: Archant

A woman who has stayed in hospital for seven months over an undiagnosed condition claims to have been told by a doctor in A&E she would have to wait 22 hours in a wheelchair before being seen.

As the crisis in emergency departments deepened in hospitals around the country this week, more stories of record-breaking waiting times are being reported.

Scott’s partner, of Harold Wood, suffers from an undiagnosed condition and is unable to feel or move her legs without dislocating bones.

Scott accompanied her to Queen’s Hospital’s A&E department, Rom Valley Way, Romford, on Monday afternoon after he said he was told by a specialist team in the hospital there was nothing they could do for her.

He described the scene at the emergency department as “unbelievable”.

“There were about 60 to 70 people queueing. We had to move wheelchairs around to get through, it was that packed,” he said.

The pair managed to see a junior doctor within 30 minutes for an initial assessment, but he recommended the advice of a more senior person.

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“We waited hours to see a consultant and he told us there was something seriously wrong and they would have liked to keep her in.

“But then he added, ‘You don’t mind sitting in a wheelchair for a minimum of 22 to 23 hours? Because there are no beds for her.”

Scott said the consultant was “sympathetic” but there was not much he could do, and the couple decided to go home. They have since returned to the hospital, where Scott’s partner is now.

Scott told the Recorder: “I don’t think they can cope anymore. It has got to breaking point.”

Chief executive of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, Matthew Hopkins, said: “The safety of our patients will always be our highest priority. We explained to the patients that while there would be a long wait for a bed, she would be assessed and cared for while waiting. Winter is an extremely busy time and, like other hospitals across the country, we have seen high demand in recent weeks.”

Mr Hopkins added the trust worked hard to ensure patients were treated as soon as possible and within the four-hour national standard.

Danielle Hollins, of Hornchurch, said she took her 10-year-old son to the children’s A&E on Tuesday after he swallowed a plastic toy. She told the Recorder she was impressed to leave the hospital just over an hour after she arrived, with her son having completed a scan and seen a clinician twice.