Patients told to go home as A&E ‘was too busy’

Harry Cullen from Waterlooville who was told there would be at least a seven-hour wait in casualty at Queen Alexandra Hospital on Wednesday night 
Picture: Allan Hutchings (160416-002)
Harry Cullen from Waterlooville who was told there would be at least a seven-hour wait in casualty at Queen Alexandra Hospital on Wednesday night Picture: Allan Hutchings (160416-002)

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A MAN has told how staff at a busy hospital told patients they could either leave or sleep over in a waiting room as no-one would be seen for seven hours.

Harry Cullen went to the emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham on Wednesday night needing medical help.

But he was stunned when at 10.10pm staff told about 60 people in the waiting room that no-one else would be seen until 5.30am the next morning.

A hospital spokeswoman has told The News any serious or urgent cases would have been dealt with.

Mr Cullen, of Lavender Road, Waterlooville, said: ‘The trouble was, it was full up with people at A&E.

‘I went to see somebody and all of us – 60 people – were waiting to go through.

‘They said “sorry we can’t see anybody else, you have to go home or stay here for the night”.

‘They sent us home. I never saw anybody.

‘They said the hospital is full.’

Mr Cullen said he was in the hospital as he needed what he said was urgent treatment.

He went home but did not seek any further medical help.

It comes as the hospital’s bosses have been warned they must improve how A&E runs.

The Care Quality Commission visited in February and has since put four conditions on the hospital in a bid to ‘reduce the risk of patients being exposed to harm’.

The chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said the hospital was under ‘considerable pressure’ but that too many people were waiting for too long in the A&E.

A new executive director for emergency care has been appointed at the hospital and has made changes.

Medics are urging people to go to walk-in centres or a GP if appropriate.

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust said: ‘Our emergency department has been experiencing surges in demand, with a high number of very poorly patients.

‘On the evening on Wednesday, May 11 we were aware that some patients with non-life-threatening conditions, and less serious injuries, were experiencing longer waits than usual.

‘Our staff correctly advised these patients about alternative treatment centres, including the minor injuries walk-in centre at St Mary’s.’