NHS pressure: Hospital corridors 'the new emergency wards'

From BBC - February 8, 2018

Hospital corridors are the new emergency wards, experts say, with growing numbers of patients finding themselves stuck on trolleys because there are no beds for them.

The warning comes as figures for the NHS in England showed January was one of the most difficult months on record.

Record numbers of seriously-ill patients faced delays waiting for a bed - with 1,000 waiting over 12 hours.

It comes despite the mass cancellation of routine treatments to ease pressure.

The move was ordered by NHS bosses before Christmas when it became clear hospitals were struggling.

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But the four-hour A&E target was still missed for the 30th month in a row; with 85.3% of patients seen, marginally better than the 85.1% in December.

Similar performance is being recorded in Scotland, while Wales and Northern Ireland are doing even worse.

However, it was the issue of finding beds that has sparked most alarm.

These are known as trolley waits, because patients often find themselves on trolleys in side-rooms and corridors until a bed comes free on a ward.

These tend to be the most seriously-ill patients, so doctors decide to admit them on to a ward rather than treat them in A&E.

Some 81,000 waited more than four hours for a bed in England - one in five of the 390,000 people who needed to be admitted.


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