Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where patient died waiting in ambulance had 200 'bed blockers'

EEAST is one of 24 trusts and the only ambulance service to be named as a pilot site for the new digital scheme.
A patient died after being left waiting in an ambulance outside a hospitals A&E department Credit: ITV News Anglia

A patient died after being left waiting in an ambulance outside a hospital where more than 200 "bed blockers" were taking up beds.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has apologised following the death outside its accident and emergency department on 22 August.

Chief Nurse, Prof Nancy Fontaine, said it had been an "extremely busy day" at the hospital and, although the patient was seen by a doctor within 30 minutes of the ambulance arriving, there was nowhere for them to go.

"The patient, who had abdominal pain and was in a stable condition, was assessed by a doctor within 30 minutes of arrival and remained in the ambulance, due to significant pressures on our emergency department and inpatient wards," she said.

"Sadly, the patient suddenly deteriorated and died in the ambulance."

At the time, the NNUH had more than 200 patients in the hospital with "no criteria to reside" - meaning they were fit to be discharged but, due to hold-ups in social or community care, could not leave.

With a total of 900 adult beds, it meant more than one in five were taken up by so-called "bed blockers".

Newly appointed health secretary Therese Coffey said tackling that issue would be one of her priorities.

The Suffolk Coastal MP said: "It's horrific to hear that's the experience people have when they're in the hands of the NHS waiting for that treatment - literally at the hospital edge.

"One of the key things is that there are people currently in hospital today who don't need to be in an acute hospital but need to be cared for elsewhere.

"That's clearly got to be a priority on how we try and free up that capacity and make sure patients are getting the treatment and care where they need it."

In a statement, the East of England Ambulance Service confirmed it had been called out to a patient at 2.47pm on 22 August and had taken them to the NNUH.

"Unfortunately, the patient's condition deteriorated while waiting to enter hospital and he passed away," it added.

A spokesman said the trust invited the patient's family to contact it to discuss the situation further.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know