Romford hospial A&E 'swamped' by emergencies
PUBLISHED: 10:57 15 October 2010
QUEEN'S Hospital's A&E department was swamped last Thursday afternoon with a freak influx of patients - causing worrying delays to 999 calls, it was claimed.
At one stage nine ambulances, from Romford, Hornchurch and Ilford, were backed-up in the car park, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, as crews waited for staff to move patients off ambulance trolleys.
“Queen’s was in total chaos; the A&E staff were completely overwhelmed,” one crew member said.
“None of us are able to leave until the patients are off our trolleys. I couldn’t say how many calls were coming in but people would definitely have been waiting for an emergency response.”
The paramedic added: “We wanted to be out doing our jobs but we couldn’t because we were all stuck.”
Two car crash victims in neck braces were amongst those waiting to be moved off trolleys and into beds, one witness claimed.
Deb Smith whose elderly mother was on a trolley for more than three hours, said: “You could see all the ambulance people getting more and more frustrated.
“The entire A&E was jam-packed and the nurses really looked like they were struggling to cope. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen in this day and age!”
Queen’s is one of the biggest and busiest hospitals in the region, and specialises in treating people with trauma injuries and stroke victims.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust Chief Executive John Goulston admitted the hospital was particularly busy last week, dealing with large numbers of seriously ill patients.
He said: “The Accident and Emergency department at Queen’s Hospital – along with others in north east London – had been very busy last week.
“Our staff have have working extremely hard to make sure that patients are receiving the best possible care and any delays are kept to a minimum.”
A spokesman for London Ambulance Service (LAS) said: “Thursday was a particularly busy day in terms of 999 emergency call demand on our service, not just in Havering but across London.
“The number of calls categorised as life threatening in the east area of London were up almost 10 per-cent on the same day the previous week (up to 335 from 306).
“We worked with Queen’s and other hospitals in the area to ensure that patients received appropriate care as quickly as possible.”