An 85-year-old woman was forced to wait 40 hours to be admitted to hospital after breaking her hip, her daughter says, as response times and A&E waiting lengths reached record levels.
Marianna Flint said her mother, Koulla Mechanikos, waited an “agonising” 14 hours for an ambulance to arrive and was then stuck for 26 hours in the vehicle outside hospital, after falling at her home in August.
Ms Mechanikos was left in “excruciating pain” lying on the floor overnight and had surgery upon her admission, Ms Flint said.
She was given pain relief once the ambulance finally arrived – but then found herself in a queue of 30 outside the hospital, the BBC reported.
Ms Flint has since received a written apology from the Royal Cornwall Hospital for the care provided to her mother, in which the trust said it was “sincerely” sorry for the failings.
“It was awful,” the 53-year-old Ms Flint told the BBC. “You feel helpless because you’re giving your trust over to them to look after a family member who’s in agony and who needs surgery,”
“I almost feel sorry for those looking after her. It’s not down to them. There was no room inside to accept her in,.”
NHS data in October revealed that a record high of seven million patients were waiting for care, as A&E performance sank to a new low – the highest number since records began in August 2007.
One hundred thousand nursing staff are set to go on strike next month after 44 out of 219 NHS trusts in England voted in favour of walkouts, as unions seek to settle a pay dispute and concerns over patient safety.
A spokesperson for NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care System said: “We are sorry that we were unable to provide a timely response to Koulla Mechanikos and have already been in contact with the patient’s family.
“Operational pressures across our health and care services have led to longer than acceptable waits for ambulances, handover delays at hospitals and large numbers of people who are fit for discharge but are awaiting onward care or community home.
“Our teams are working tirelessly to respond to these pressures and we have recently introduced new ways of working to reduce delays in both our acute and community services.”
“While these changes have resulted in some improvement in ambulance response and handover times, we will continue to focus our efforts until we are confident all patients get timely access to care.“