Scots nurses set to declare ‘national emergency’ due to hospital corridor deaths

A patient being treated in a hospital corridor.
-Credit: (Image: ITV)

Nurses are set to declare a “national emergency” today, warning NHS patients are dying in hospital corridors.

More than one in three nursing staff in Scottish hospitals reported having to treat patients in inappropriate settings including corridors and cupboards, due to a lack of beds – sometimes for days.

And over half say it left them without access to life-saving equipment including oxygen.

The situation will be top of the agenda at The Royal College of Nursing’s conference in Wales.

Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland executive director, said: “It’s entirely unacceptable for patients that their care is being compromised by it so often taking place in an inappropriate setting. And it’s entirely unacceptable for nursing staff that their clinical skills and commitment to providing safe and effective care are being undermined by a ­situation that, worryingly, is becoming normalised.”

In a shocking report, seven out of 10 of the 1400 Scottish frontline staff surveyed said the care they delivered compromised patient privacy and dignity.

One said: “Patients are sent who are acutely unwell, stressed or agitated or delirious with some requiring enhanced observations.

“They are routinely placed in the middle of our Nightingale wards and we are expected to manage them with no
appropriate equipment.”

Another said: “All of our ward’s four bays (and treatment room) have had extra beds for four years now. I’ve never worked a shift as a registered nurse or student nurse without them, despite being told frequently they are being ‘closed’ only to reopen half a shift later.”

The findings are published in Corridor Care: unsafe, undignified, unacceptable, which calls for corridor care to be eradicated.

Opening the RCN Congress in Newport, acting general secretary Professor Nicola Ranger today will say: “Our once world-leading services are treating patients in car parks and store cupboards.

“The elderly are languishing on chairs for hours on end and patients are dying in corridors.

“The horror of this situation cannot be understated.”

Last December, the Record reported patients in corridors at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, were given wireless doorbells to call for help.

Scottish Labour Health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the report “lays bare the scale of the chaos engulfing Scotland’s NHS”.

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