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Fourteen ambulances stack outside Morriston Hospital

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 11, 2013

Ambulance stacking outside Morriston Hospital branded farcical

Comments (25)

A MUM has branded ambulance stacking outside Morriston Hospital as farcical.

Sian Smitham claimed there were 14 of them waiting hours to unload patients at A&E on Tuesday night and, at the same time, 19 emergency calls for help from sick members of the public.

Mrs Smitham, who was with her ill grandmother at the time, said: "I want to get an AM down there and ask: 'Would you be happy if it was your gran?'. You can sense the frustration of the ambulance crews. It just seemed farcical."

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health (ABMU) Board said an "exceptional" number of ambulances arrived with seriously ill patients on Tuesday night, and some were diverted to other hospitals.

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Another woman, who asked the Post not to name her because her partner works within the NHS, claimed ambulance stacking was hitting "dangerous levels".

She said: "Lives are being put at risk, as well as the wellbeing of paramedics and A&E staff." Mrs Smitham said she did not blame hospital staff, and felt it was time to end free prescriptions, costing £585 million per year in Wales, to spend on A&Es.

The 36-year-old, of Neath Abbey, explained that her gran, of Trallwn, Swansea, had exhibited stroke-like symptoms and was taken to Morriston A&E at around 8.15pm on Tuesday.

She said: "When we got there I could not believe the queues of ambulances."

She said paramedics liaised with medics inside A&E and administered oxygen to her gran inside the ambulance but could not inject intravenous drugs.

She said three and a half hours later her gran, who had an infection rather than a stroke, was admitted but spent the night on a trolley in a section of A&E. "I overheard another ambulance man saying there were 19 calls outstanding," said Mrs Smitham, of Danygraig Road.

"It was also mentioned that Llanelli's one ambulance was also waiting to deliver its patient."

The roles of the region's hospitals are being examined under ABMU's Changing For the Better programme and another, at times overlapping, South Wales Programme. ABMU's programme concedes that its A&E departments at Morriston and Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital "have a chronic shortage of doctors, both middle grade and at consultant level, which puts them under constant pressure".

The Welsh Government expects 95 per cent of patients to be seen by medics within four hours of arriving at A&E. The figure for Morriston in February was 76 per cent. Health chiefs expect paramedics to respond to 65 per cent of emergency calls within eight minutes. The latest figures were 63 per cent for Swansea, 53 for Neath Port Talbot, and 58 for Carmarthenshire.

Two weeks ago nearly half of Wales's A&E consultants signed a letter to Health Minister Mark Drakeford claiming patients were dying because A&E departments were reaching meltdown.

An ABMU spokeswoman said extra consultants were brought in to Morriston on Tuesday night, adding: "We are focussing on discharging appropriate patients back into the community with support."

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  • MAD666  |  April 13 2013, 11:52PM

    What on earth is the point of leaving comments on this site, if the 'powers to be' do not like what is written. The comments then get removed for no other reason than being a little too close to the truth!!!!

  • Twnnie  |  April 13 2013, 12:12AM

    Hi I didn't mean to offend anyone but yes I feel that my comment has been brushed under the carpet, this was the truth and I thought that wewere asked to comment if we so wished but never mind eh

  • carmshire  |  April 12 2013, 1:08PM

    Emergency care in Wales at present is focused on 2 providers. The Ambulance Service and A+E units. Any other service the public call out of hours i.e not 9-5 Mon-Fri usually results in an Ambulance being called and a visit to A+E. Everything out of hours is dumped on the Ambulance Service so it is no wonder that A+E units are bursting at the seams with Ambulances outside. When there are 14 Ambulances stuck outside Morriston, 7 outside Princess of Wales, 3 outside Prince Philip, 4 outside West Wales General at the same time you begin to wonder what would happen in a REAL Emergency!! It is now dangerous for patients and staff will be leaving in droves if things don't change soon.

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  • MAD666  |  April 11 2013, 6:55PM

    Yet again, a long line of ambulances at Morriston Hospital. Consultants, doctors and nurses are warning that A&E departments are in meltdown, and that something must be done before more lives are lost. Is anything being done about it? It seems not! Does Carwyn Jones, or his ministers really care? They need to stop all the rhetoric and start doing something constructive! The Welsh Health Minister Mark Drayford needs to come and spend a few days at Morriston Hospital A&E, together with other AMs. Let's get these people the 'front line' to see what is going wrong. This fiasco will not go away until the 'powers to be' in Cardiff are forced into doing something. Time and time again we are told of problems at A&E at Morriston, and no, it is not the fault of the very hardworking, and mainly caring front line staff. They are all finding it very hard to cope too. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only way for this situation to improve is to get ministers to 'shadow' staff at A&E, paramedics and ambulance drivers. They have to made really aware, and must experience what it is that is happening. Then and only then are they likely to fight to improve the situation. If these ministers are not prepared to do that, then reasons must be given for not doing so. It is a ridiculous situation that is only going to get worse unless something is done immediately. We hear constantly that there is a chronic shortage of doctors and nurses. Why is that? There has to be a reason! What is being done about it? There has been a systematic failure of management within the Welsh Health Authority for many years. These health officials and higher management are very well paid in their jobs, so perhaps it is about time they started to earn their money, and start to investigate the problems at Morriston, and then put into action plans to resolve those problems. If they don't I dread to think what the future holds for patients and staff alike within the health service in Wales.

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  • ladymaise  |  April 11 2013, 6:43PM

    ABUM spokesperson I have an idea I suggest You open a small A&E in Singleton , Llanelli and Port Talbot. This will ease congestion in Morriston A&E and help the WAST achieve their precious targets. MORE IMPORTANTLY Apart from giving the population a Gold standard service It will also help reduce the stress levels on Patients, relatives , Nurses , Doctors, Paramedics , porters , receptionists and all other members of the Acute services that at this moment are going through hell, it is not going to get any better ! it will only get worse . What are your safe targets and what do you aim to achieve from all the changes ????????? It has not made any better changes so... what is your agenda ?????? What are trying to achieve ?????? We need answers Simples

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  • hobbles  |  April 11 2013, 6:08PM

    Take away all the Hypocondriacs Junkies Alchies and morons that go to A+E just for company then you have got a level to work off. Been there . DONE it. Got out.

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  • dayos5  |  April 11 2013, 4:44PM

    Back in September i waited outside A&E with my father for nearly 2 hrs in a stacking system, the paramedics sympathised with us and said this happens all the time. The ambulance that took us to the hospital came from West and we lived in Swansea, they had to give him morphine in the ambulance due to the pain he was in.

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  • nice_nails  |  April 11 2013, 4:38PM

    My Mums op was cancelled today due to the lack of bed available, I'm sure the theatre staff still had to be paid yet no surgery due to no admissions, that doesn't seem cost effective to me and what with the proposals to close the A&E at the Prince of Wales things will only get worse, come on Mr ABM health show yourself.

  • Dan01  |  April 11 2013, 4:10PM

    RosemaryBush, problem is that only a tiny percentage of welsh people paid for prescriptions in the first place, and most if not all the money charged went on funding an army of staff and auditors at every health authority who had to check on the validity of the vast numbers claiming free prescriptions. Charging for parking made some sense, but I personally found very often that my waiting times at outpatients took me beyond the time I had paid for. It is anxious enough waiting to see a doctor without having to worry whether it is going to be clamped when you return to it. Then you have the problem of people turning up without the appropriate change, or maybe no money at all. The other option, - to charge visitors but not patients,- incurs the same dilemma as charging for prescriptions. The money gained goes on administering the system!

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  • RosemaryBush  |  April 11 2013, 3:34PM

    Sunshine Cleaning. I would be happy to pay for the rare amount of medication I may need to help people with chronic illnesses to get theirs free. Try telling that to people who want medication you can buy over the counter eg paracetamol or nit lotion to pay for it. If the WAG brought in prescription charges again you can purchase them through a pre-payment option which I believe works out a lot cheaper.

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