NHS cleaner 'traumatised' after 26 hour wait for stitches at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd A&E

An NHS cleaner says she has been left "traumatised" after waiting 26 hours to be treated in A&E with an injured knee.

Jean Richardson, from Colwyn Bay, was walking her dog on the evening of April 2 this year when she fell and split her knee open.

"I was just taking my dog for a walk at about 5pm in the evening when she basically just pulled me a little bit and I fell over on a stone", Jean told ITV News.

"When I got home I realised that my knee was split wide open."

Jean sustained the injury to her knee in April. Credit: ITV News

After being advised that there was an eight hour wait for an ambulance, Jean arranged for a friend to give her a lift to the nearest A&E unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Rhyl.

"We were at Glan Clwyd about 6:15pm... they just told me to take a seat, which I did.

"But it was 11am the next morning before I actually saw a doctor... and then I waited another 12 hours before they actually stitched my knee."

Jean continued: "Bear in mind [the wound] was left open all that time so obviously I was a bit concerned about infection and all that stuff."

Jean described the experience as "really, really traumatic" and said she would "rather die" than return to the hospital.

"The whole time I was there was 26 hours, I was sat in the chair the whole time. I had no food, they didn't even offer me a drink", she said.

"I was traumatised... when it was time to go and have the stitches taken out, I couldn't put myself through it so I got it through my GP instead.

"Literally I would rather die than go there again... To be sat in a chair for that length of time, there has to be a major problem, I mean I was literally bleeding on the floor for a long time before they dealt with me."

Health board response

Responding to Ms Richardson's concerns, Jo Whitehead, Chief Executive of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, apologised and acknowledged her experience was "difficult and stressful."

Jo Whitehead told ITV News: "We have triage arrangements in place, which do mean that you will be seen by a clinician for an initial assessment of your clinical circumstances and your clinical urgency.

"That does help us make sure that regardless of time of arrival, the most sick patients get seen more quickly than others who may be able to wait.

"Of course, I'd like to apologise to this individual person or anybody who has to wait a long time, it's a difficult and stressful time and that's why we're putting all the individual improvements in place and the improvements we've put in place are already starting to see an improvement in those waiting times."