NHS doctor recalls child being resuscitated on a bench as he accuses politicians of ‘blinkered’ view

"Every year there are pressures at winter, but this year does seem different", emergency medicine consultant Mark Poulden says

An NHS doctor in Swansea has described the system as being in "complete gridlock" as he recalled resuscitating a child on a workbench.

Mark Poulden, a consultant in emergency medicine at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, said some patients are waiting to be seen in A&E for up to 36 hours.

Describing the situation in his hospital, Dr Poulden said: "We have patients sitting in our waiting room for up to 24-36 hours waiting for a bed to be admitted.

"In the last week we've had a gentleman bring his elderly relative into the department because he couldn't get an ambulance and actually the gentleman had a cardiac arrest in the car park.

"We've had a child brought in, we didn't have the resuscitation space to deal with them and we actually started treating the patient on a workbench at the side of the resuscitation area. 

"I've been working in the NHS for over 20 years. Every year there are pressures at winter, but this year does seem different - there just seems to be complete gridlock in the system."

Patients are waiting to receive care in hospitals across Wales for hours on end.

Dr Poulden has accused politicians of having a "blinkered" view of pressure within the health service, calling on them to "admit there is a crisis in the NHS".

On Monday, the First Minister revealed the Welsh NHS recently experienced its busiest ever day since the health service was founded.

But last week the chief executive of NHS Wales, Judith Paget, denied any suggestion of a "crisis", though accepting it is "incredibly challenged".

"There are potentially some who are a little blinkered to the true levels of day-to-day pressure in the NHS"

Dr Poulden believes a "collective solution" is needed to alleviate pressures, and called for reforms to social care to help get patients out of hospitals.

The Welsh Government announced more than 500 beds and community care packages this winter to help free up hospital beds, and confirmed an extra £70m to ensure social care workers in Wales will continue being paid the Real Living Wage.

"We don't underestimate the task in hand. I think we need to depoliticise the health system. It's not a Labour, Conservative or Plaid Cymru solution, it's a collective solution," Dr Poulden added.

"I think it's asking the public to bear with us, but also our political masters to support us in the times that we're having and actually recognise the level of pressure that we’re under and actually admit there is a crisis in the NHS.

"I think they acknowledge it in part but I think there are potentially some who are a little blinkered to the true levels of day-to-day pressure in the NHS."

The Welsh Government has also said it will offer healthcare workers a one-off payment as part of a bid to avoid more strikes.

Mr Drakeford refused to disclose exactly how much that pay award would be, but said negotiations are currently taking place with trade unions in an effort to stop more strikes.

Ambulance workers are set to stage more walkouts over the coming days.

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