THE “stay away” signs have been posted at Lancaster’s A&E department three times already this year as overstretched medics struggle to cope with a mounting workload.
More patients than ever are coming through the doors seeking help. But not enough are leaving after treatment on the wards, leading to bed blocking and a logjam in casualty.
When the NHS has something wrong with it, the rash always comes out in A&EEmergency medicine lead consultant
“When the NHS has something wrong with it, the rash always comes out in A&E,” said Mr McGlone, who has worked on the frontline for 26 years.
“The problems arise with the number of ambulance cases and primarily because of exit blocking. Older people aren’t getting discharged into the community and it’s filling the wards with people that could be in the community rather than in hospital.”
The Royal Lancaster Infirmary dealt with 14,759 people in A&E between January 1 and April 10 - more than 1,200 up on the same period last year. Only 80.44 per cent were seen, treated, admitted or discharged within four hours - the government target is 98 per cent.
In that time the pressure on the service has been so severe that the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust has been forced to issue three statements warning people to stay away from A&E unless there is an absolute emergency.