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Corridor care: how it’s becoming the new normal for many nurses

Bed pressures pose risks to patient safety and dignity that extend beyond hard-pressed emergency departments
woman lies on a hospital trolley in front of a window in a hospital reception area

Bed pressures pose risks to patient safety and dignity that extend beyond hard-pressed emergency departments

More than two thirds of nurses in acute care who responded to a Nursing Standard poll have had to treat patients in hospital corridors.

Nurses have told of a 'broken system' in which patients are stuck in corridors, on trolleys blocking fire exits as hospitals struggle to cope with demand, according to early findings of an online survey.

Some are positioned in front of fire exits meaning no escape from the ward in a fire

Nursing Standard survey respondent

Its disgraceful. The standard of care is nil, privacy is nil, dignity is nil, treatment is delayed

Nursing Standard survey respondent

So far, 589 nurses have responded to our UK survey on so-called corridor care.

Consigning patients to corridors has become

Bed pressures pose risks to patient safety and dignity that extend beyond hard-pressed emergency departments


Picture: PA

More than two thirds of nurses in acute care who responded to a Nursing Standard poll have had to treat patients in hospital corridors.

Nurses have told of a 'broken system' in which patients are stuck in corridors, on trolleys blocking fire exits as hospitals struggle to cope with demand, according to early findings of an online survey.

‘Some are positioned in front of fire exits meaning no escape from the ward in a fire’

Nursing Standard survey respondent

‘It’s disgraceful. The standard of care is nil, privacy is nil, dignity is nil, treatment is delayed’

Nursing Standard survey respondent

So far, 589 nurses have responded to our UK survey on so-called corridor care.

Consigning patients to corridors has become a weekly – even daily – reality

13/1/2020

That's the deadline for responding to our survey – so there's still time

Complete our quick survey 

Some 70% of respondents said they have had to provide patient care in a corridor in the past 12 months.

In addition, 60% say that in the past 12 months, caring for patients in corridors is something that happens on a daily basis in their workplace, with 15% stating it happens weekly.

'It’s an utterly appalling state of affairs when acutely ill patients are stuck on corridors unable to receive the help they desperately need,' one nurse tells us.

'This has undoubtedly led to fatalities in a place that is supposed to provide care. The system is beyond broken.'

This is what bed pressures look like 

Nurses open up to Nursing Standard survey:

  • 'There’s no privacy for the patients. It's a new form of lone working in a hospital'
  • 'It’s disgraceful. We cannot "nurse" in a corridor. The standard of care is nil, privacy is nil, dignity is nil, treatment is delayed'
  • 'I have witnessed it in my organisation in another department and was asked to do it in my own department but refused'
  • 'This is wider than just the emergency department – we are also 'plus one' in most of my wards. We nurse in back of ambulances as we cannot off-load and this morning I have ten extra patients across eight wards. Some are positioned in front of fire exits meaning no escape from the ward in a fire'

 

The busiest December on record in the NHS

The initial findings of our survey come as new NHS statistics confirm the health service in England experienced its busiest month on record in December, with an unprecedented number of emergency department (ED) attendances and ambulance call-outs.

The NHS England monthly performance statistics show there were 2,181,024 ED attendances in December 2019, up 6.5% on December 2018. This resulted in 4,307 extra attendances per day – the highest number on record.

NHS England has been approached for comment.

Our survey closes at 1pm, Monday 13 January.


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