Insider voices fears over hospital capacity after Lister turns away ambulances
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 May 2015
An ambulance worker has questioned Lister Hospital’s ability to cope with growing patient numbers after it turned away emergency vehicles because of overcrowding.
The Stevenage hospital, which treats patients from Times Territory, was so overwhelmed that it was forced to divert emergency crews to other hospitals last Monday.
Ambulances were mainly diverted to Watford General Hospital on the other side of the county, with vehicles carrying paediatric patients sent to The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.
The insider said: “It was the longest divert I’ve ever known so it must have been overcrowded and down to a lack of beds in the hospital.”
He blamed the backlog on the NHS trust’s decision to transfer all in-
patient and emergency services to the Lister from the QEII in WGC in October last year.
Both hospitals are run by the East and North Herts NHS Trust.
The decision means that anyone needing anything but minor treatment will have to go to the Lister, where the NHS trust decided to centralise major services in 2008.
He added: “There’s been a lot of high profile visitors at the hospital and the Tories have been claiming how wonderful it is but the question has to be asked whether it was right to close the accident and emergency department at the QEII.
“The biggest issue for all the ambulance staff is the fact it’s a huge distance to travel and it stops the crews getting to other jobs.”
A spokesman for the NHS trust confirmed that ambulances were diverted and said: “Over recent days the Lister has seen very high levels of attendances at its emergency department, including those brought in by emergency ambulance.
“This has led to longer waits than normally would be the case for those with more minor injuries and illnesses for which we are sorry.
“For example, on Monday some 310 people attended the Lister (normally the average is around 270), of whom 84 were brought in by emergency ambulance.”
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