Watch: Nurse tells patients in A&E they face 13-hour wait
A nurse has been filmed telling A&E patients they will have to wait at least seven-and-a-half hours to see a doctor — and possibly as many as 13 — because the hospital she works at is so overwhelmed.
The nurse at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, could be heard telling people they faced a long wait as they had 170 patients and 90 were in the queue.
A father posted the video on Twitter, saying his son-in-law left in pain after hearing the announcement on Monday evening.
He wrote: "This is PAH Harlow on the evening of June 6, 2022. My son-in-law visited A&E after being involved in a RTA (road traffic accident).
"He left in pain after hearing the nurse's announcement. Others verbally abused her. This is our NHS on its knees after 12 years of underfunding."
In the video, the nurse can be heard warning those in the waiting room that there are currently “170 patients in the department” and that "90 of you are still waiting to be seen".
She continues: "Our current wait time for a doctor is seven-and-a-half hours. I will estimate that by the time I go home in the morning at 8 o’clock, some of you will still be here waiting to see a doctor as the wait will get up to 12 or 13 hours."
She carries on to say that the staff will “do our best when we look after you”, before asking any relatives of patients to leave because the hospital is "running out of space".
Stephanie Lawton, chief operating officer at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said they had experienced "extremely high demand" for emergency care services.
She added: "Our teams are working hard to assess and treat patients as quickly and effectively as possible to reduce delays, prioritising those in most clinical need.”
Lawton asked the public to ease pressures by using the NHS 111 service for healthcare advice in non-urgent cases but added people should always call 999 in an emergency.
The latest NHS England figures show a record 24,138 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in April from a decision to admit to actually being admitted – so-called trolley waits.
About 72.3% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es in April, the second lowest percentage in records going back to November 2010.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s Beds In The NHS report, published last Tuesday, said 13,000 more beds were need across the UK to improve A&E waits, ambulance response times and handover delays outside hospitals.
The report added the health service had lost almost 25,000 beds across the UK since 2010-11.
It said the UK has the second-lowest number of beds per 1,000 people in the UK and EU at 2.42 and had seen the third-largest drop in beds per 1,000 population between 2000 and 2021 at 40.7%.
The report added that the loss of beds has led to a “sharp increase” in A&E waiting times, ambulance handover delays, delayed ambulance response times, cancelled elective surgeries, and “unsafe” bed occupancy levels.