Cancer patient claims he waited nearly 24 hours for treatment at Cornwall hospital A&E

Royal Cornwall Hospital
Royal Cornwall Hospital.

A cancer patient has claimed that he was forced to sit in the cold on the floor outside of the Royal Cornwall Hospital's emergency department before finally being admitted to a ward nearly 24 hours after being advised to visit the hospital.

Roy Welfare, from Truro, says that he was told by a cancer care line to go to hospital because he had a high temperature, had been sick for a week and was at high risk of sepsis and infection due to chemo.

The 62-year-old said that he was finally placed on a ward at the hospital before being treated for bronchial pneumonia after arriving in Treliske at around 9pm on Friday.

His partner Tracy said "Because of Covid restrictions I couldn’t wait with him but as he was too weak to stand I begged a security guard to let me talk to reception to see if I could get him seen any quicker,"

"I was so shocked by what I saw - people were queuing outside, ambulances were waiting with patients and there wasn't even a chair for my partner to sit on. It was shocking."

"Eventually after about an hour Roy was seen by triage nurse, had bloods taken and was then told to wait for results in the waiting room.

"At 11.30pm there was no seating inside and people were still queuing, so Roy had to sit on the floor outside A&E awaiting his results."

Tracy has said that she doesn't blame staff for the issues with waiting times at the hospital, saying that she recognises demand for services is currently high across the region.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital announced it would stop all ward visits, due a "significant increase" in Covid cases. Credit: PA

"Surely it’s not right for a man who is going through cancer and the effects of chemo to have to sit on a cold floor outside when he is weak?" Tracy continued. "I was so desperate I called the cancer care ward and they apologised and said there was nothing they could do because they were understaffed and there was high demand."

A spokesperson for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said: "We will always prioritise people with the most urgent and life-threatening illness and injury; and we are sorry this means that sometimes patients are waiting longer than any of us would want them to.“Our waiting areas have much less space than before the pandemic as we need to keep social distancing in place and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. At our busiest times we do ask people with less urgent need to wait in their cars so we can call them when it is their turn to be seen.“In the future the new oncology unit we are currently building will offer direct access for our cancer patients, so they won’t need to come to the emergency department.“Our staff are continuing to work incredibly hard to respond to the sustained operational pressures we face and they are doing their utmost to give everyone the best care they can in unprecedented circumstances.”