Patients sleeping in A&E due to lack of beds at Sunderland Royal Hospital
Patients have been sleeping in Sunderland Royal Hospital’s accident and emergency department while waiting for beds to open up in the hospital after a surge in admissions.
A leaked memo says the hospital has been struggling to cope with patient numbers, despite adding 50 extra beds for winter.
The message to GPs describes increased pressures having ‘a severe impact across the trust’ and refers to some patients having to sleep in the emergency department.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott MP said: “The NHS is desperately in need of new investment and funding, now more than ever, to stop this from happening again.
“At the same time we must pay tribute to all the incredible work put in by those who work in the NHS, in particular those at Sunderland Royal Hospital. They work all hours of the day and night caring for others without question.
“As a country, we are extremely proud of our NHS workers and rightly so, but we must support them with proper funding and investment.”
A South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said patients waiting for a bed during the night might sleep in the accident department but the trust did not bed patients down there.
They added: “The reality is that some patients have had to wait longer than expected for a bed to become available which means they have remained in the emergency department for a longer time - this could be during the day or night time. Patients are always safely cared for and moved through the emergency department as swiftly as possible when beds do become available within the hospital. We do not ‘bed down’ patients to sleep within the emergency department.”
Divisional Director for Urgent and Emergency Care Angela Wadmore added: “Over the past week we have seen a big increase in seriously ill people requiring emergency admission to hospital. As we safely manage these pressures, sometimes it may not be possible to accommodate patients into an appropriate inpatient bed as quickly as we would like, resulting in some patients having to spend longer within our Emergency Department.
“When this does occur, patients are cared for with compassion and looked after safely by our excellent Emergency Department staff, each within their own dedicated individual room to ensure patient privacy and dignity is maintained. As soon as an inpatient bed becomes available, patients are then safely transferred to another part of the hospital.“Flu and norovirus continue to put additional pressure on NHS services, so it remains important that the public help staff by getting their flu jab and using the NHS 111 phone and online service for advice.”