The state we’re in: Cornwall woman travelled to London for emergency healthcare

Truly shocking, “NHS safe in our hands” ? Clearly not, as all candidates for next PM want to shrink the state – Owl

A former GP with heart problems travelled nearly 300 miles to access emergency healthcare after deciding the wait nearer home was too long.

BBC News

Dr Alison Durkin spent hours waiting to be seen on Monday in an ambulance outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

When she felt worse the next day, she travelled from Helston to find a hospital with no queues and is now in a serious condition in London.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust apologised for the distress caused.

The Hospital, near Truro, declared an internal ‘critical incident’ this week due to “acute pressure” on beds.

‘Wouldn’t be here now’

Mrs Durkin said she was seen by a junior doctor on Monday evening and returned home, but when she woke up on Tuesday feeling worse, she and her husband Ross decided to travel from Helston to find emergency care.

He said: “The first thing we did was to check the situation at Plymouth and that was no better, so geographically we headed up country, Exeter was much the same, Bristol Royal infirmary had 88 people waiting in A&E.

“The only answer was to go to and find a hospital where there wasn’t a massive queue outside and where she could actually get decent quality of care.”

Mrs Durkin was admitted into Charing Cross Hospital, where she remains in a serious condition.

Mr Durkin said if they had not taken matters into their own hands, he feared the worst: “I’m not sure whether she’d still be here to be honest, it’s not an easy thing to say.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make because we knew that if we did nothing, the potential outcome was she wouldn’t be here now,” he added.

Mrs Durkin was assessed in an ambulance outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital on Monday evening

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust apologised for the distress caused to Mrs Durkin and her husband.

“Our staff are working exceptionally hard in very difficult circumstances and will always make sure patients are assessed on their arrival at our emergency department and those most critically ill will be admitted right away,” it said.

Cornwall Council, the body responsible for social care in the county, said it was “working closely with partners across the health and care sector to support people to leave hospital as soon as they can”.

It said recruitment in the sector continued “to be an issue”.