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Hospital launches probe after 90-year-old left on trolley for five hours


A hospital on the south coast has launched an investigation after a 90-year-old dementia patient was left for nearly five hours on a trolley in a corridor awaiting treatment.

Pam Bailey, of Fareham, Hampshire, attended the Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth, suffering from a water infection, vomiting and dehydration.

She was handed over by the ambulance crew to staff at the accident and emergency department at 6.20pm and was left waiting until after 11pm to be seen in a treatment room.

The former Women’s Royal Naval Servicewoman said that she was left shaken by the ordeal.

She told the Portsmouth News: “I’m pretty shaken up, it felt like years off my life.

“I think they owe us something but I don’t know what it is.

“Sorry would be a nice word for them to say to everybody.”

Now Mrs Bailey has made a formal complaint to the hospital concerning the wait and her subsequent treatment.

A Portsmouth Hospitals Trust spokeswoman said: “Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust aspires for all patients to receive treatment in a timely way according to their clinical need.

“We make every effort to ensure patient experience is of a high standard and place patients at the centre of everything we do.

“We strive to ensure that patients coming into the Emergency Department (ED) are seen within four hours of arrival, however we have recently experienced an unprecedented increase in attendances to the department.

“We are unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.”


Readers' comments (7)

  • would this have made the headlines if it had involved a 20 year old drug user, why is it relevant that the patient was 90 and suffered with dementia. shouldn't all patients be treated with the same level of care and dignity?

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  • "“We are unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality.”"

    How is that when the Press Association and NT have published the story and the patient's name?

    How desperately cruel and inhumane. Hopefully this has not done the lady any permanent damage and that the case is being fully investigated and all the staff involved brought to account.

    How would any nurse who was vomiting and suffering from 'a water infection (presumably a UTI)' like to be left in a corridor, and especially the elderly who are even more sensitive and susceptible to draughts, and not to mention the discomfort of lying on a trolley for hours and a total lack of respect for the patient's dignity.
    Such treatment, which seems far from uncommon, leaves one entirely shocked and speechless.

    Admission to UK hospitals, are supposed to do no harm, seems to be a punishment for the vulnerable and somewhere where there is a high risk of being neglected, mistreated or left to die.

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  • there are some interesting comments in the daily maul where this article was published.

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  • Its CRAP that anyone has to wait that long. Isn't it 4 hours to complete A&E treatment then a decision to be discharged home or admitted into the hospital, not start it treatment for 4 more hours.
    Who reduced the 4 hour targets?

    If A&E was that busy, A&E staff should have closed to new non-critical admissions, as taking in more patients was obviously unsafe and risking all their patients.
    Liaising with their local ambulance service to redirect crews to the next nearest A&E centre would have been preferable.
    Do they have and what were their Urgent care area or Minors areas doing?
    Do they have Acute Medical wards for Older people? If they're full, then its no good A&E taking in any more patients.

    The flip side, how come she got in such a state in the first place, having UTI, dehydrated/vomitted, did she get enough to eat and drink? Did she get enough support + care at home, hows the community team coping?
    Fareham doesn't sound like a bad place, with nice areas and space to live in.
    Maybe cuts are now impacting on primary and secondary care. Sometimes I think we're lucky to have anything left when its death by a thousand cuts.

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  • The A&E target is still 4 hours, however the government has reduced the percentage of patients that must be treated in this time.

    A&E departments never close to new admissions and diverting ambulances to other hospitals has cost implications.

    In other countries, emergency departments talk about 'crowding', not waiting times and I think this is what was happening at this hospital. A&E departments can only function effectively when there is sufficient throughput of patients, ie beds to admit patients into and appropriate use of the service by patients. These are out of the A&E department's control.

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  • If NHS trusts were permitted to run their hospitals with enough staff to avoid dangerous levels of care, there would be no need for yet more targets and this situation and thousands of other similar incidents would not occur

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  • will all the media and public outcry as well and nurses' warnings of low staffing levels be sufficient to put a stop to this targets before patients culture?

    one would imagine by now there have been enough tragedies for lessons to have really been learned and it is time to show proof of this and restore confidence in the NHS.

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