NHS nurse suffers miscarriage following five-hour wait in A&E

The husband of an NHS nurse has described his anger and grief after his wife miscarried following a five-hour wait in A&E.

The man, who wants to remain anonymous, said on Tuesday night his wife began to experience heavy bleeding and pain and went to A&E at the Trust where she works in the North East.

He says that initially a nurse wanted to send her home, but when his wife explained she was herself a nurse and needed to see a doctor, he "reluctantly agreed".

"After five hours of bleeding and pain in the waiting area, I queried what was happening," the man told Sky News.

"I was told that the gynaecologist had refused to see her and that she was hours away from being seen by the ED [emergency department] doctor."

Because his wife was in so much pain and discomfort, he decided to take her home for some rest, but said 10 minutes after they arrived home, she miscarried.

"My anger and grief is immense, that not just ourselves, but countless others, have been failed… I include NHS staff as being part of the group being failed."

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If you are an NHS worker and would like to share your experiences with us anonymously, please email NHSstories@sky.uk

The trust involved told Sky News: "Whilst we cannot discuss the individual care of any patient without their consent, the loss of a baby at any stage is devastating for a family.

"We are seeing significant pressure across the NHS at the moment. We know this can be extremely challenging for those accessing our services.

"Also, for our staff working above and beyond to treat unprecedented numbers of people coming into our hospitals and out in the community.

"This is absolutely not the position we want to be in, and we are working tirelessly to make sure we are able to provide the best care possible.

"The public can support us by accessing the right services for their needs. This way we can focus our services on those who need it most."

'Daily firefight'

NHS staff have been contacting Sky News to detail their concerns about patient safety.

A mental health nurse who works with children and young people told us "demand far outweighs capacity to treat everyone, we can only meet the needs of a small number, most sit on waiting lists."

"In my current role, I treat and care coordinate a caseload of adolescents with complex needs, but without the resources to bring about change, therapy waiting times can be years," he said.

"Along with my colleagues, we sit most days in a state of high anxiety trying to prevent breakdown, relapse episodes of recurrent self-harm, or worse, suicide."

A nurse who works on a stroke ward in the East of England told us that "two-thirds of the ward have been with us for over two months as securing home care or residential support is almost impossible, relying on a patient death to free up space for the next person's care.

"When you firefight daily, all job satisfaction and all sense of doing a job well disappears…this just can't go on".

A paramedic in Norfolk told Sky News: "My local hospital has had up to 36 ambulances queueing recently. There have been times when there are no ambulances left in the community to respond at all."

They said: "We did have a 'drop and run' policy where we would leave our patient at the hospital to respond to an emergency priority, but often there are times when we can't even do that."

Staff room turned into makeshift ward

Meanwhile, a paramedic in Shropshire told us that at one hospital, a staff room was turned into a makeshift ward for patients.

He said: "The NHS is dying on its knees… I've never ever seen it this bad, even during the pandemic, it was not as bad as this."

In response to the accounts we have received from NHS staff, Health Secretary Stephen Barclay said: "Across the UK, Europe and internationally, health systems are seeing a significant impact on operational performance due to the impact of the pandemic, the rapid spike in flu, Strep A and the ongoing high levels of COVID.

"That's why, as I set out this week, we're taking urgent action to ease pressures on A&E, including investing an additional £200m to get medically fit patients out of hospital quicker and boost the social care workforce, on top of our £500m discharge fund, creating the equivalent of 7,000 more beds through innovations like virtual wards, and putting £50m towards expanding capacity in emergency departments through new discharge lounges and ambulance hubs.

"This is on top of record funding, including up to £14.1bn for health and social care over the next two years - the highest spend on health and care in any government's history."