Elderly woman spent 20 hours on trolley waiting to be admitted to Northampton General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital
Northampton General Hospital

Bosses at Northampton General Hospital have apologised to a 75-year-old woman who had to be cared for on hospital trolley for 20 hours because of a lack of beds.

The woman, who has been awarded an MBE and who the Chron has chosen not to name, was taken to NGH on Thursday night with breathing problems associated with her heart condition, arriving at 9.30pm.

Unfortunately it is the reality of our situation when we have more patients than available beds.

NGH spokeswoman

Although she was monitored by staff throughout, there were no ward beds available for her and she was eventually transferred to the emergency Admissions Unit at about 4pm on Friday.

Her friend, Louise Hirst said: “I know they’re always very busy these days but i just find it very upsetting.

“She was not offered any nightwear, or anywhere for her to wash.”

Although patients are monitored while queuing on trollies, they are still supposed to be treated or admitted within four hours.

The problems stem from delayed discharges.

This week, the Chron reported that more than three wards worth of fit patients are unable to leave NGH because of slow assessments by community health and social services workers.

This has the knock-on effect of leaving doctors with very free beds for incoming patients, leading to regular queues of hospital trollies.

Added to this, NGH’s emergency department was particularly busy on Thursday, with 354 attendances at A&E compared to 301 on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “Obviously these are not the conditions in which we want our patients to be treated, but unfortunately it is the reality of our situation when we have more patients than available beds.

“Thursday night and Friday morning were particularly busy but despite the trolleys in corridors and the waiting times for admissions, we continued at all times to provide safe care and our staff responded professionally and competently to those challenges.

“We’re working hard both within the hospital and with our partners to speed up the process of making bed space available to minimise the length of time patients have to wait for admission.”