Grandmother claims she spent six days sitting in a chair in A&E

Val Griffiths was taken to University Hospital of Wales. (Reach)
Val Griffiths was taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. (Reach)

A grandmother claims she spent six days sitting in a chair in Wales's busiest A&E department.

Val Griffiths, from Canton, Cardiff, was taken to University Hospital of Wales (UHW) last month after having problems with her breathing.

But she claims she spent the entire stay from 27 September to 1 October on an uncomfortable chair connected to an intravenous drip, surrounded by other patients.

Griffiths described the experience as "inhumane" and "deeply frustrating".

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Val Griffiths claims she spent six days sitting in a chair in Wales' busiest A&E department. (Reach)
Val Griffiths claims she spent six days sitting in a chair in Wales' busiest A&E department. (Reach)

She was diagnosed with severe food poisoning in August and has had problems with her breathing ever since.

Her condition got so bad that her son drove her to the emergency unit at the UHW to get expert help.

Griffiths said there was no privacy in her unit area, known as the 'IV lounge', and she wasn't given any medication for 24 hours as the staff had "accidentally scrubbed her name off the whiteboard".

She said: "I'm not trying to criticise the nurses as they are under almost constant pressure, but from my experience it felt like I was in a hospital in a third world country.

"It's absolutely not fit for purpose. Inhumane is the word I would use to describe it. I've told my son to never take me there again."

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Griffiths, who has severe arthritis in her spine and is recovering from a double spinal fracture, said she was given antibiotics through an IV drip upon her admission to A&E.

She added: “They have a board there with all the patients' names on it and I could see my name had been scrubbed off.

“I queried it with one of the nurses when I had a walk around, and she then went on the computer and could see that I should have been on there and added it again.

"They then came in and did my obs straight away and they got my medication. Those are the sort of mistakes that are being made."

She spent six days at University Hospital of Wales. (Reach)
University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. (Reach)

Griffiths, who worked for Oxfam as an area manager for Wales, said her legs became very swollen during her time in the unit sitting on a high-backed chair, but it wasn't until day five that she claims she was given a more comfortable reclining chair.

She said: "I was told to get my legs up above my heart – have you ever tried doing that sitting in an upright chair? I'm not young. I couldn't believe what they were saying to me."

On 2 October, Val said staff decided to discharge her and not transfer her to a ward in the main hospital.

She believes system-wide pressures in the Welsh NHS are causing terrible bottlenecks in A&E.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) visited the University Hospital of Wales' A&E department between 20 and 22 June and found that it was overcrowded, visibly dirty, and could not guarantee the safety and dignity of patients.

In response to Griffiths's claims, a spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: "We are sorry to hear that Ms Griffiths recently had a poor experience while in our care.

“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the concerns raised by Ms Griffiths via our dedicated Concerns Team so we can thoroughly explore the issues."