A 15-hour wait and the sight of 14 ambulances stacked up outside Scarborough Hospital’s A&E Department has raised concerns among relatives.
Staff have been praised for their hard work under the pressures of a bursting hospital as ambulances were unable to pass on their patients.
But calls for something to be done to support the department have come after a hectic weekend saw 33 patients waiting for up to 15 hours.
One woman admitted her 82-year-old father to the department as he was gasping for breath. The daughter, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “On Sunday morning I took him up to the hospital at 10.10am and it took two hours to be seen by a nurse - which was to be expected.”
But it was 12.40am on Monday morning when they were finally taken to a bed on a ward which had been shut because of Norovirus outbreak.
On Sunday afternoon, 14 ambulances were queuing – not only from Scarborough, Whitby, Filey and Bridlington but also with Hull, Beverley and Driffield patients.
She said: “I think something has to be done about this mess. Why send patients from Hull when they have their own infirmary and A&E? There are 15 beds at A&E and there were 33 people waiting. I think wards should be opened at Whitby and Bridlington to relieve the stress. The staff are so hard worked – they were amazing, absolutely amazing. You could see they were under stress but everybody got seen.”
Another woman who attended the department with her mother on Tuesday said: “There were lots of really sick people waiting for beds. It’s distressing for everyone concerned, the family, the patients and for the staff. It was like being in a traffic jam on the M1, everyone was queuing up.
“The staff were marvellous but there was no getting away from the fact that it was a horrible situation.”
MP for Scarborough, Robert Goodwill, is writing to the trust to see what can be done to tackle a bed backlog. He believes that the move of the Castle Health Walk In Centre, now based at the hospital, has helped with the demand on A&E and the extreme delay was a “one off” made worse by the virus outbreak.
The backlog is said to be down to at least two wards being closed due to Norovirus. A spokesperson for the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Scarborough Hospital was exceptionally busy and some patients experienced a delay. We are sorry where this was the case.
“We are working with partners to minimise delays that have been caused by high levels of demand and would like to commend our staff who are working extremely hard to maintain services.”