A&E patients told ‘go home!’

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Junior doctors picketing North Middlesex Hospital during their strike on February 10th – they are fighting an imposed contract for a safer NHS
Junior doctors picketing North Middlesex Hospital during their strike on February 10th – they are fighting an imposed contract for a safer NHS

MANY http://www.wrp.org.uk/admin.php?op=adminStorypatients who had been waiting seven-hours in the A&E department at Edmonton’s North Middlesex Hospital were told on Friday night to go home and come back the next day.

The trust announced over the A&E Tannoy: ‘We would ask anyone who doesn’t have a life-threatening illness to go home and come back in the morning.’

A trust spokesman confirmed it had been necessary to issue the mayday alert because 450 casualties arrived during one shift. Many were waiting on trolleys because all cubicles were full. At 11pm on Friday a message went on the Tannoy saying that the wait to see a doctor was eight hours for adults and six hours in children’s A&E.

North East London Council of Action campaigners, who fought the closure of Chase Farm A&E, had consistently warned that North Middlesex would never be able to cope with the extra patients caused by the Enfield A&E’s closure.

Stressing that the situation at North Middlesex was indicative of the problems throughout the NHS, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘The government has put the NHS under huge strain so overworked staff are struggling to cope and patients are being let down. Rather than look for continued conflict with dedicated NHS workers, ministers should be working with them and giving the NHS the cash it needs.’

A British Medical Association spokesman said: ‘It’s very clear that the NHS is under enormous pressure and it doesn’t have the resources or staff to meet these pressures. The government needs to take seriously the challenges that are facing the NHS and come up with a proper plan that gives doctors and nurses the ability to meet the needs of their patients.’

Meanwhile, responding to quarter three figures showing NHS trusts are already in a deficit of £2.26 billion, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander said: ‘The Tories have caused the worst cash crisis in the NHS’s history.

‘Hospitals were already forecasting a £2.2 billion deficit this year. However, today’s figures show the black hole in the NHS’s finances is already larger than that with three months of the financial year still left to go. No amount of spin can disguise the fact that the NHS is now in financial free fall and Tory Ministers have absolutely no solution for turning this situation around.’