A&E patient left waiting hours for ward bed as hospital faces unprecedented pressure

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan visited Barnet Hospital, which is operating over capacity every day. She spoke to an A&E patient who was waiting hours for a bed on a ward and a Covid patient who did not believe the virus was real.

A&E patients are having to wait hours for beds on wards to be freed at a hospital as it faces unprecedented pressure.

Barnet Hospital in north London is operating over capacity every day, with clinical director Dr Angshuman Mukherjee explaining he is constantly "juggling beds".

He explained: "When I come on a shift, I fully expect that we will get to a point where I will be juggling beds and pulling people out of resus [resuscitation] just when they're near enough OK to be stepped out - not when they're perfect to step out, just when they're OK because I know there's another sicker patient who needs that same cubicle space."

He said there have been times when there have been more sick patients than spaces.

Barnet Hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department has capacity of 275 attendances, but on a busy day, there can be 470 patients.

Around 10% of A&E attendances at the hospital need to be admitted to a ward, many have to wait for hours for a bed because wards are full.

80-year-old Roger Butler, who was waiting hours for a hospital bed for chest pain, said he understood the situation

Roger Butler, 80, who came to A&E for chest pain at around 8.30pm on Wednesday evening, had to wait for hours for a space on a ward and was still waiting when ITV News visited him at noon on Thursday.

But he said he fully understood the situation and was happy to wait: "It's not a very good time at the moment with Covid and everything else, so I'll take my turn."

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One ward at the overstretched hospital contains 35 Covid patients, most of who are unvaccinated.

Lukasz Nowak, 41, who is recovering after 12 days in intensive care, is one such patient.

The delivery driver who worked throughout the lockdowns said he did not get the vaccine because he did not believe Covid-19 was real.

Lukasz Nowak, a delivery driver who is recovering from Covid in hospital, said he didn't get the jab as he didn't believe the virus was real

He said he thought Covid was just the flu and underestimated the virus as he was a healthy, fit man who rarely got sick.

He said: "I see the people really, really, really sick, this is no joke."

He added: "I didn't believe in Covid. I [thought it was] normal flu, but now, this is not normal flu. This virus takes the lives and takes, for example, from my lungs around 10 years."

Mr Nowak is now encouraging his friends and fellow colleagues to get the jab, even if they think they are fit and healthy.

So to are staff at the hospital who are doing everything they can to ensure every patient is cared for, and in return they're pleading with the public to get vaccinated.