Close Welwyn Garden City hospital A&E and ‘people will die’

A FRONTLINE ambulance worker has claimed that patients’ welfare will be seriously compromised and people will die if major services are axed at the QE2 Hospital in WGC.

The angry employee, who wants to remain anonymous, spoke out after a week where patients were reportedly forced to sleep in the hospital’s A&E department due to a lack of beds.

Beds at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage were also said to be at a premium.

The emergency worker said: “If the QE2 closes where are we supposed to take patients?

“I can foresee that patients’ welfare will be seriously compromised and people will die.

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“A rethink needs to be taken ASAP with regards to the closure of QE2 as I do not think the Lister will cope.”

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, who has long campaigned against the closure of services at the QE2, said: “This worrying news won’t surprise anyone in Welwyn Hatfield.

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“We all know that closing the major services like A&E and maternity will put the public at risk.”

Nick Carver, the chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust, admitted the last few weeks had been busy.

But he stressed: “The picture that this individual has painted is not one that our staff recognise.

“We work very closely with the ambulance service to ensure that we provide safe and effective care for patients.

“We work as a single service to make the best use of all beds available – not just those at a single hospital.”

He added: “This person is suggesting an emergency hospital service in chaos, with patients stacked up in A&E and being forced to sleep there overnight because beds were not available.

“This is simply not true.

“They have also suggested that once all acute services are brought together at the Lister, the hospital will not be able to cope.

“This ignores the fact the Lister is being redeveloped and expanded to provide it with the capacity to support all the patients who will be using its services in future.

“Indeed, having a single large emergency department and new ward blocks will help us to cope even better with the sort of winter pressures we are experiencing currently, where our staff and bed resources are stretched thinly across two hospital sites.”

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