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Emergency department waiting times are the worst ever, say nurses

Royal College of Emergency Medicine study reveals more than 1,000 people a day attending EDs face waiting for up to 12 hours or more

Royal College of Emergency Medicine study reveals more than 1,000 people a day attending EDs face waiting for up to 12 hours or more

Emergency nurses have told how ‘A&E is the worst it has ever been’, as patients routinely wait on chairs for 48 hours.

One nurse working in Bristol said the pressures are so great it feels like it is ‘the height of winter’, as their emergency department (ED) is inundated with patients.

Not uncommon to see older people waiting for up to 24 hours for a bed

The nurse said they felt frustrated they cannot give the care that patients need. They are planning to quit their job in September to work abroad as they ‘can’t

Royal College of Emergency Medicine study reveals more than 1,000 people a day attending EDs face waiting for up to 12 hours or more

Royal College of Emergency Medicine study reveals more than 1,000 people a day attending EDs face waiting for up to 12 hours or more
Picture: Newsteam

Emergency nurses have told how ‘A&E is the worst it has ever been’, as patients routinely wait on chairs for 48 hours.

One nurse working in Bristol said the pressures are so great it feels like it is ‘the height of winter’, as their emergency department (ED) is inundated with patients.

Not uncommon to see older people waiting for up to 24 hours for a bed

The nurse said they felt frustrated they cannot give the care that patients need. They are planning to quit their job in September to work abroad as they ‘can’t take another winter in the NHS.’

‘It’s the middle of summer where we usually get a bit of a reprieve, but it feels like the middle of winter,’ they told Nursing Standard.

‘All of the escalation areas are open and crowding in ED is a massive problem. It’s not uncommon to see older people waiting in chairs for 24 or 48 hours for a bed.

‘It’s a perfect storm. Staff morale is bad.’

Their comments come as a study by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) published on 14 June revealed that more than 1,000 people a day attending in EDs in England in 2021 faced waits of 12 hours or more.

With only 60% of trusts responding to Freedom of Information requests, the RCEM believes the true figure to be much higher.

The college said the figures laid bare a ‘deep crisis’ in the emergency care, which is impacting care and patient safety.

Emergency departments are ‘not designed to give long-term care’

Another nurse working in an ED in London told the Nursing Standard: ‘Waiting hours are the worst they’ve ever been here.

‘A&E is not designed to give long-term care. Where I am they have implemented meal rounds, which is necessary, but also so shattering to see.

‘We are not a ward. We have one shower and we are massively understaffed. You just cannot give people the care there should be.’

NHS England says it is working with partners in social care to ensure patients are discharged as soon as possible.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson added: ‘We recognise the pressure NHS staff are under, especially those on the front line in emergency care, and we continue to thank them for their dedicated hard work.’

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Royal College of Emergency Medicine study


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