Patients waiting on trolleys for 12 hours is now ‘commonplace’ at York Hospital
Hospital trolley waits of 12 hours are now commonplace at York Hospital’s emergency department, having been “practically unheard of” before the pandemic, it has been revealed.
Staffing shortages, intense pressure on existing beds and care homes struggling to cope have all contributed to the problem, a meeting of Vale of York clinical commissioning group’s (CCG) governors heard.
In August there were some 43 such 12-hour trolley waits in York Hospital, with this figure “expected to increase significantly” during September, according to a report.
The hospital has more than 100 beds closed to normal activity, with some dedicated to Covid wards, some closed due to social distancing and some due to staffing shortages.
The report adds: “All sectors are suffering from staffing issues. These include high sickness rates, high absence rates as staff take time off to recover, and sheer exhaustion.”
Phil Mettam, accountable officer for the CCG, said there was now a “new norm” in terms of attendances at the emergency department at York.
He told the meeting: “As we go into the second half of the year, it looks as though it’s going to be particularly difficult as we enter the winter period and we continue to be asked at a national level to do everything we can to reduce waiting lists and clear the backlog.”
‘Really tough out there’
Pressure on care homes is only going to increase as the government’s deadline which demands all care home staff are vaccinated comes into effect on 11 November.
Michelle Carrington, executive director of quality and nursing, told the meeting: “That will unfortunately mean that we will lose a fair few hundred of our care home staff unless they decide at the last minute to have it done.
“So that makes the staffing issues in that sector even more difficult. Home care is particularly difficult and that’s having an impact on being able to discharge people from hospital in a timely way.”
Ms Carrington mentioned the case of residents of a care home near York having to move elsewhere after it was hit by an “unprecedented staffing crisis”.
Wellburn Care Homes Ltd said it had to act “swiftly and decisively” when it became unable to continue providing specialist nursing care last month to some of its residents at St Catherine’s Care Home in Shipton by Beningbrough.
Ms Carrington told the meeting: “Registered nursing staff in care homes is getting very, very difficult and on the back of that we’ve recently had to move a significant number of residents with nursing needs to other care homes.”
There are just four patients left at the care home at the moment as they are there on a residential basis.
Ms Carrington added: “It’s getting really tough out there in the care home sector.”