Daily Mirror 21 NOV 2015
BY MARTYN HALLE , NICOLA FIFIELD
Ambulance worker Martin Jackson turned whistleblower to hand over a shocking picture of seriously ill people queuing on stretchers to be checked in at A&E
Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital Delays: Patients wait to be booked in at the new hospital
A NHS whistleblower fears patients will DIE in corridors due to the crisis in hospitals .
The warning from ambulance worker Martin Jackson came as he handed over this shocking picture of seriously ill patients on stretchers queuing to be checked in at A&E.
He said they waited for two hours. The hospital denied it was that long.
The photo was taken at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington which opened in June and has been described as a “vision for the NHS”.
But Mr Jackson, 51, said: “It’s only a matter of time before a patient dies on a stretcher waiting to be seen,” the Sunday People reports.
Flagship: The new hospital at Cramlington has been called “a vision for the NHS”
He said centralising A&E care for serious illness and injury in such “super” hospitals at the expense of other NHS units was not good for patient care. He believed it meant longer travel time for patients and waits for ambulance crews.
The emergency care assistant with North East Ambulance Service spoke after 98 per cent of junior doctors voted for three days of strike action next month.
On December 1 medics will provide only emergency care and on December 8 and 16 there will be a total walkout by thousands of junior doctors .
The action is over a contract being imposed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt which medics say would be unsafe for patients and unfair for staff.
Labour shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander said: “It is no exaggeration to say that the NHS is close to meltdown.”
Jeremy Hunt Under fire: Jeremy Hunt’s new contract for doctors has sparked a strike
Mr Jackson said: “It is frightening to think about what will happen during the strikes. What is happening here in Northumberland is insane.”
He pointed out patients are ambulance crews’ responsibility until booked in. “If a patient goes into cardiac arrest in the queue, we have to resuscitate them on a stretcher in a corridor, even though we’re inside what is supposed to be an emergency super hospital full of specialists.”
He said the delays meant the already stretched crews could not respond to other emergencies.
Mr Jackson, who has been suspended by his hospital on an unrelated matter, said he had to do a 120-mile return trip to Berwick from Cramlington to transport a sick baby.
Worries: Martin Jackson fears a patient will die on a stretcher
He said: “It was a ‘load and go’ situation. We needed to get that child to the next level of care very quickly.
“On the way back to Cramlington we drove past three hospitals. They no longer had the right specialists.
“How can this be better for patient care? Being in an ambulance for an hour and then enduring a wait of a further hour or two to be seen by a doctor when they get to hospital?”
He claims the needs of the local population and patients were better met when A&Es at Hexham, Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals handled more than just minor conditions.
Crisis: Ambulance and A&E services are feeling the pressure
Mr Jackson, of Amble, Northumberland, raised his concerns with the chief executive of North East Ambulance Service Yvonne Ormston in August. He has launched an online petition on the 38 degrees website.
Paul Liversidge, chief operating officer at North East Ambulance Service, said: “This has been a major change for hospital services in Northumberland and North Tyneside and we’re working closely with Northumbria Healthcare to ensure a smooth transition for patients into the new emergency department.”
But Dr Chris Biggin, clinical director of emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said there were no issues regarding the trust’s A&E performance.
He said: “Our new model of emergency care is working extremely well and has already exceeded our expectations in terms of the positive impact on patient outcomes.
Winter rush: Medical staff are dealing with high numbers of patients
“Having access to dedicated diagnostics 24/7 and the right consultant specialists on hand seven days a week means patients who are most seriously ill or injured are now being assessed, diagnosed and treated much quicker than ever before, which is excellent news for patient care.”
“Our urgent care centres at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals remain open 24/7 and continue to see hundreds of patients every week with less serious problems.
“Like the rest of the NHS we are already seeing high numbers of people accessing both urgent and emergency care and, as we head into winter, we would urge the public to make sure they use NHS services wisely.”
A spokesman for the Cramlington hospital said it had met the government target of 95 per cent of A&E patients being seen within four hours.
She claimed that Mr Jackson’s claims of patients were waiting for two hours was untrue.
Warning: Labour’s Heidi Alexander says hospital deficits are “eye-watering”
But Labour MP Ms Alexander said: “Hospitals have racked up an eye-watering deficit of £1.6billion in just six months.
“This isn’t just a problem for hospital accountants. It’s a problem for each and every one of us.
“It could mean fewer beds, fewer staff and even longer waits at A&E.
“It could mean cancer treatments further delayed and some operations rationed or even denied.
“It could mean closures, as hospital bosses have to decide whether to balance the books or deliver safe and timely care.”
Picture from Jeremy Hunt’s flagship hospital is a vision of hell that shames Britain
Clearly the NHS needs a radical hall to meet changing demands but the Government needs a to keep doctors on board, not push them away, the Sunday People say
Shocking: Patients forced to queue for A& E at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital
This is the picture that shames Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt .
It was taken at one of his flagship new hospitals hailed as a “vision for the NHS”.
It’s a vision all right. A vision of hell.
Patients in pain have to queue in this corridor until hospital staff can see them.
Meanwhile they are in the care of the ambulance crews who brought them there.
Florence Nightingale would have had a fit to witness such appalling treatment.
And what was unacceptable in Victorian England should not be tolerated in 21st century Britain.
Unacceptable: Jeremy Hunt needs to sort out this crisis
But Mr Hunt is more interested in making junior doctors work longer hours for less pay than sorting out this mess.
Now those doctors intend to walk out for three days next month.
That will only make what is happening at this hospital and others like it even worse.
Yet it shows the strength of feeling among doctors for 98 per cent of them to vote to strike. They are rightly furious that Mr Hunt will not even have proper negotiations with them.
This newspaper believes in a truly seven-day NHS. An NHS run more for the benefit of patients and less for the convenience of doctors.
But to create it Mr Hunt must take the doctors with him, not push them away.
Make plans: A Royal Commission may be needed to fix the NHS
As the population ages and medical science advances there is no doubt the health service needs a radical overhaul.
It is time Mr Hunt set up an old style Royal Commission to diagnose what is wrong and how to cure it.
It means looking at best practice at home and abroad. It means examining hospital administration. It might mean sacking managers. It might even recommend Mr Hunt should lose his job.
But it would end the scandal of patients dumped in hospital corridors.