As reported by health campaigner and Independent DCC councillor Claire Wright:
“Patients are being left stranded on trolleys without access to vital medical supplies and sent home too soon amid widespread hospital crowding, doctors say.
More than half of medics polled by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said patient safety has deteriorated over the past year and three quarters fear dangers to patients within 12 months.
The survey of more than 2,100 RCP members from across the UK found that 84 per cent had experienced staffing shortages. And less than half thought doctors at their trust would speak up if they were concerned about risks to patients.
In the survey, doctors said they were “firefighting”, “papering over the cracks” and “hanging on by their claws”. One said: “The hospital is operating at full capacity all of the time, We are asked (almost daily) to ‘lower our thresholds’ for what we consider to be a safe discharge.”
Medics said they were working in circumstances which were “completely unsafe” for patients, with one describing 55 emergency beds being opened, without extra staff.
“Currently the hospital is overfull, with patients on trolleys in corridors and in the middle of the bay (with no curtains, access to electricity, oxygen etc) .. elective surgery has been cancelled (including cancer surgery)” said one. “I feel like I’m on the Titanic” said another.
Research by the royal college found 43 per cent of doctors were working in departments with shortages of medics.
Prof Jane Dacre, RCP President, will today tell the college’s annual conference that doctors were being “pushed to their limits”. “We worry that there are inherent safety risks in a hospital running at full or over capacity – from an increase in hospital acquired infections to the impact of burnout from overworked staff,” she said.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Hospital doctors are blowing the whistle on sliding standards in patient care – wards are full and without the staff to cope.
“Nursing staff share their fear that things will get even worse in the next year.”
Philip Dunne, health minister, said: “We want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world supported by world-class doctors and nurses – that’s why there are already 34,800 extra clinical staff, including over 11,600 additional doctors and over 13,400 additional nurses on our wards since May 2010. “