Lanarkshire man faces 10 hour wait at A&E after seizure as overworked doctor 'pleads for help'

A&Es across the country are under pressure
A&Es across the country are under pressure -Credit:Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A man who suffered a seizure had to wait 10 hours to be treated in a Lanarkshire hospital as an overworked doctor was heard making a desperate plea for help.

His wife, who asked to remain anonymous, had taken him to Wishaw A&E on Monday (April 8) at around 1.30pm after he had collapsed following a seizure. The couple were met with chaotic scenes with more than 70 people waiting to be seen and queues stretching out of the hospital doors as more waited in ambulances outside.

The couple say they heard one doctor tell patients: 'I'm sorry, you don't deserve this and we don't deserve this' while apologising for long waits. The medic reportedly said there were no beds available and told patients to write to the Scottish Health Minister for help.

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Describing the shocking scenes to Glasgow Live, the worried wife said: "We had went in because my husband had collapsed after having a seizure. The scenes that greeted us were like something out of a war zone.

"There were so many people waiting to be seen that there weren't enough seats for everyone there. You could tell that the staff were trying to do their best but there simply wasn't enough of them.

Accident & Emergency Wishaw General
Accident & Emergency Wishaw General -Credit:Tom Dick/Wishaw Press

"My husband was high-priority and it still took us 10 hours to be seen. It was quicker to be seen if you had a minor injury because there weren't enough critical care doctors and nurses as they were treating the most serious who were immediately dying.

"I've never experienced anything like it. It was heartbreaking.

"I've been to A&E a couple of times recently for my husband's seizures and we have waited around 10 hours before. But that was on a Saturday and they were dealing with people who had been on nights out and had been fighting.

"This was a Monday. I never expected it to be so bad."

She added that a doctor kept coming out to apologise to patients, telling them that they were in a 'battlefield situation'.

It wasn't until nearly midnight that the couple were seen, and they report other patients having to sleep on the floor as they waited.

The Lanarkshire woman continued: "There was a doctor who kept coming out to explain to everyone what was happened. He said they just didn't have enough critical care staff to treat everyone in the waiting room and those coming in on ambulances.

"It meant a lot to everyone that the doctor kept coming out. There were no raised voices or anger.

"I think everyone could see they were at breaking point and everyone came together and helped each other. People were helping parents with kids who were upset, little groups formed and you could see some real humanity in that room.

"But it was horrible to see the pressure they were under. He told us that there were around 70 people just in that A&E, with 73 in Hairmyres and 78 in Monklands - in case anyone thought about going to another hospital for treatment.

"People were coming from ambulances and being put in the waiting room to free them up. At one point, six were sitting outside waiting.

"The staff looked exhausted. The line just to put your name down for triage was so long that people couldn't get in the door.

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"The care we got was excellent and I couldn't fault it one bit. Everyone was doing their best but I think its shocking that doctors, nurses and care assistants are expected to work under those conditions."

Responding to a Glasgow Live enquiry, Judith Park, NHS Lanarkshire director of acute services, said: “Unfortunately, we continue to see sustained pressure across our three acute hospitals with exceptionally high numbers of people attending our A&E departments, leading to longer waits for patients.

“Patients are all clinically triaged at presentation and this means that patients with more minor ailments will wait longer when the department is very busy. We are asking people to please keep our A&E departments safe for those who need critical care.

“We appreciate the hard work of our staff who are triaging, treating, admitting or discharging patients as quickly as possible during at this very challenging time.

"If you think you need to attend A&E but it's not life-threatening, you should consider the alternatives. You can call NHS 24 on 111 day or night, where you will be directed to the right NHS service. If you just need health care advice, then please use the NHS Inform website."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The pressure being felt by our A&E departments is not unique to Scotland, with similar challenges being felt by emergency departments throughout the UK and beyond. We know that the health service remains under sustained pressure and waiting times are longer than we want them to be for too many patients.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with health boards to develop services and support sustained improvement.“

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