PENSIONER Maureen Blackford was left waiting in an ambulance outside a hospital for more than five hours after falling down the stairs and hitting her head.
Now her son-in-law, Steve Sykes, has spoken of his concerns about the way things seem to be heading at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Mrs Blackford, 80, fell down the stairs at her Fratton home and banged her head.
She got a taxi to the doctors’ surgery, where the receptionist called her an ambulance.
Mr Sykes, 65, of The Crescent, Purbrook, said: ‘We got there at 12.30pm and she spent the next four hours in the same ambulance outside A&E with us and the two-man crew – so did 12 other ambulances all with patients on board.
‘They closed off the car park to the public outside of A&E in order for all the ambulances to park.
‘After four hours they took her into hospital, took off her clothes, put on a robe and took her back out into a ‘jumberlance’. They call it this because it holds four patients.’
Mrs Blackford eventually got into the medical assessment unit and had stitches in her knee and a head scan.
Mr Sykes added: ‘I spoke to doctors and ambulance crew, they say this is now a quite normal day. If there had been a major incident in the area nobody knows what the outcome would have been.
‘We all need to start complaining, not at the staff who help and care for the patients but at the management. This 21st century state-of-the art-hospital cannot cope.’
A spokeswoman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust said: ‘There is currently an unprecedented demand on our emergency department, with exceptional numbers of very sick, frail and elderly patients needing urgent care.
‘We are taking all actions necessary to process patients promptly and in a timely manner. We would like to remind the public that if your injury is not serious, you can get help from a minor injuries unit. This will allow the emergency department staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait.’
There are minor injuries units at Milton, Gosport, and Petersfield.