Two patients die in same A&E department amid pressure on NHS

Two people have died in the same accident and emergency department in the last week.

Both patients had been on trolleys waiting for treatment at Worcestershire Royal Hospital's A&E department.

It is understood one female patient on an emergency trolley in a corridor suffered an aneurysm and later died in a resuscitation bay.

Another patient who died after suffering a cardiac arrest had been waiting 35 hours for a ward bed elsewhere in the hospital.

A third patient died on a separate ward in the hospital during the same period.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust confirmed investigations into the deaths, which all happened between Saturday and midnight on Tuesday.

The hospitals trust said accident and emergency departments had been "extremely busy" through Christmas and New Year.

News of the deaths came as it emerged that overwhelmed A&E departments turned away patients more than 140 times in December.

Data from NHS England for December 1 to January 1 this year shows there were 143 A&E diverts across England - the highest on record and a 63% rise on the 88 recorded for December 1 to January 3 the previous year.

NHS England guidance says A&E diverts should only occur during exceptional circumstances.

A&E departments turned away patients more than 140 times in December Credit: PA

Several hospitals have issued pleas on Twitter for people to stay away from A&E unless they have a genuine emergency. These include hospitals in Mid Essex, Ipswich, North Cumbria, Kingston, Bristol, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said that despite the efforts of A&E staff, the country's emergency care system as "on its knees."

Dr Taj Hassan said: "Internal major incidents are being declared in many systems around the country - every hospital in Essex has been on 'black alert' - and staff in emergency departments are working at and beyond their capabilities. This cannot be allowed to continue."