Recent reports have found that thousands of elderly patients are waiting in A & E for more than a day. According to data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), almost 15,000 patients aged 75 and over are reportedly waiting in Accident and Emergency for longer than 24 hours, which is totally unacceptable in our view.
Whilst we appreciate that the NHS is stretched in terms of funding and resources, we cannot allow elderly and vulnerable patients to not be receiving the care they desperately need in time.
A few hours could be the difference between life and death; a whole day to be waiting for care is simply too long.
According to the HSE information, 14,757 patients aged over 75 were made to wait for more than a day to be admitted to hospital, which has been classified by some as a form of “abuse” to the elderly, and perhaps even as a breach of their basic human rights.
Although we must always ensure that any patient is seen as soon as possible, and on an emergency-care need basis first and foremost, there has to also be priority for more vulnerable patients, of which elderly patients usually are.
Even a few hours waiting for care for an elderly and more vulnerable patient could lead to complications and suffering that they may be unable to recover from. We cannot allow more vulnerable patients to not be seen in time.
This story is one of many recent issues highlighted over shortages in the NHS when it comes to the standards of care that are being offered. As we often remind, we appreciate that the NHS are in need of more funding and better resources to be able to offer the world-class care we all need, so this isn’t about blaming the hard-working staff. But, something has to be done, or we face the possibility of far more medical negligence claims that are entirely preventable.
We must keep safety issues to a minimum at all times.