The West Midlands Ambulance Service had to deploy a senior consultant doctor - usually only used during medical incidents in hospitals – last Friday at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, as it couldn’t accept a number of patients into it’s A&E department.
The ‘medical incident doctor’ had to oversee the treatment of seven patients in corridors at the hospital, as well as treating another in an ambulance outside.
The service says it was forced to deploy the consultant after the patient refusals, with many of those who weren’t being treated having to wait in considerable pain.
The Trust had repeatedly asked clinical staff within the emergency department to triage the patients so that the most serious could be given pain relief or taken to wards to receive appropriate care. This was refused on a number of occasions.
The ambulance service says this incident severely impacted on it’s ability to attend emergency calls across Worcestershire.
The service also says the increase in the number of patients being taken to A&E at the hospital has been on the increase – but not steadily, with the hospital changing the way it accepted patients in October last year.
In February 2015 alone, the West Midlands Ambulance Service had to look after 434 patients in the corridor at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, accounting for 687 hours of ambulance time that could have been used helping patients in the community.
The service says it’s raised concerns with the Care Quality Commission, and has insisted that the hospital formally record last Friday as a ‘Serious Incident’, and that a full investigation is carried out by the Trust that runs the hospital.
The Trust has apologised for distress caused to patients and their families.