A councilman who spent 40 hours waiting for a bed at Lincoln A&E says drastic action is needed from the government.
However, he has praised the staff who were doing “the best they could”.
City Councilor Clare Smalley, who has a weakened immune system, was sent to A&E last Tuesday after developing an infection.
It wasn’t until Thursday night that a bed at the county hospital finally became free.
The hospital trust declared a third critical incident last week when A&E was overwhelmed and struggled to discharge patients to health.
Councilor Smalley, who represents the Abbey neighborhood in Lincoln as a Liberal Democrat, says she doesn’t blame staff for the delays.
“I knew it would be incredibly busy as they were in a critical incident at the time. However, the doctors and nurses were doing everything they could,” he said.
“111 advised me to go to the UTC when I called on Tuesday afternoon and they transferred me directly to the ER. I was lucky that they were able to get kidney specialists to see me there and start me on medication while I waited for a bed.
“The delays were obviously frustrating and unpleasant for the people there. Patients were taken in priority order when beds were available, which meant some people were there for a long time.
“I felt sorry for the staff – they were doing their job to the best of their ability and completely professional, handing out drinks and sandwiches.
“They were realistic with the deadlines and how long we would have to wait, and they kept us informed about how many ambulances were queuing outside. At one point, we were told there were 100 people waiting in the ER and 56 needing beds.
“They were trying to clear the beds as quickly as possible, but magically they couldn’t find any more.
“The situation is terrifying for someone with a long-term condition like me. My immune system is not what it should be and I had a kidney transplant which means I had to protect myself all the way through Covid.
“People who need emergency treatment still need to go to A&E, but there are other sources of help such as GPs and pharmacies.
“It is worrying that this is the third Critical Incident in recent weeks, will it be an ongoing situation?
“There doesn’t seem to be any response from the government, and it’s hard to tell if they’re taking it seriously. Unless something drastic happens, the situation will not improve.”
United Lincolnshire Health Trust has now withdrawn the third critical incident, but there are still long waits in Accident and Emergency departments.
A hospital spokesperson said: “As a trust, we continue to see increasing demand for our urgent and emergency care services, along with patients staying much longer in our hospitals than before.
“Despite the long waits, patients who need immediate emergency care can be seen and cared for in our emergency departments.
“We are experiencing increasing pressure on our A&E departments, often with patients who have more complex needs. The impact of this is then a longer wait time for beds for new patients who need to be admitted from A&E.
“We advise all patients to ensure they stay well this winter and to help themselves by visiting NHS 111 online, which can point to the relevant healthcare service. You can also access care from your local pharmacy, your GP or an Urgent Treatment Center.”
If you recently experienced long waits at Lincoln A&E, please contact your story at [email protected]
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