The daughter of an elderly hospital patient has condemned Welsh NHS leaders after her mother waited 13 hours to be treated for suspected sepsis.
Sam Smith-Higgins said his 87-year-old mother fell ill on Saturday afternoon and had to be taken to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff because she was allegedly told she couldn’t get an ambulance “unless she’s unconscious. “.
In the hospital’s A&E department, Ms Smith-Higgins, from Cwmbran, spent the rest of the weekend cataloging what she described as a “humanitarian crisis” in the nation’s health care, including long waits to receive treatment, “distressed” patients left to fend for themselves. , and crowded waiting rooms where relatives of patients had to sit on the floor.
Emergency department staff were working “full steam” and apologetic about the standards in the room, he said, and areas of the department had not been cleaned and were “mixed up.”
“I only spoke to one of the nurses; she said they only have three nurses covering A&E at the moment,” Ms Smith-Higgins said. “Three nurses? The hospital in the Welsh capital on an international rugby day and three nurses. He kept apologizing for not giving patients the care they deserve.”
Ms Smith-Higgins, campaigner for a Wales specific Covid inquiryHe said his mother finally started treatment at 3 a.m. Sunday, but was later transferred later that day to an evaluation unit without her family’s knowledge.
“She was allowed to wander to the bathroom on her own even though she is at risk of falling,” she told the agency. Argus on Monday. “There’s no room available. It’s unacceptable. I’m taking her out today because she’s deteriorating in that horrendous testing unit.”
‘It’s a crisis’
Ms Smith-Higgins praised the “incredible” frontline staff at Cardiff University Health Board and Vale, who run the hospital, but said they felt compelled to “apologize for poor patient care”.
She said the Welsh government should make healthcare its “number one priority”.
“Forget everything else – the Welsh are literally dying and suffering needlessly,” he said.
“It is a crisis and it must be treated as such: a humanitarian crisis,” he told the Argus.
Ms Smith-Higgins’ account caught the attention of Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, who said: “While Labor ministers may have announced extra money to improve the state of A&E waiting rooms , there is little sign of it in UHW. .
“These conditions are totally unacceptable and completely below the level of dignity that patients should expect to be treated and staff should expect to work in a modern and wealthy country.
“I have written to the board of health so that we can understand what timescale they are working on to improve these conditions, so that patients and staff can at least expect to have a place to sit and a clean environment in our emergency department.”
What the board of health has said
A spokesperson for the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “We are very sorry to hear about Sam and his mother’s experience when they were in our care.
“While we cannot comment on individual cases, over the weekend our Board of Health was at a high level of escalation, with all clinical areas at full capacity. Our staff are working incredibly hard, often under difficult circumstances to provide the best and most appropriate care, but please recognize that this is not at the level we would like.
“The health and social care system in Wales is experiencing significant and sustained pressure, which is having an impact on patient flow within our hospital and waiting times in our Emergency Unit.
“We are working closely with colleagues across the Welsh government and healthcare system to identify ways in which we can ease the pressures and improve the patient experience.
“We are aware that Sam and her mother are in contact with our concerns team who are working with them through our formal concerns process.”
The Welsh Government was contacted for comment.