Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Pensioner waits three hours for ambulance then told no hospital beds
A MAN drove his sick dad to Basildon Hospital after waiting nearly three hours for an ambulance that didn’t show only to be told there were no beds available to treat him.
William Langford, 83, from Sandon Road, Basildon, was one of the latest victims of a worsening A&E capacity crisis hitting the hospital which has now affected ambulance availability.
Events unfolded after Mr Langford, who takes 30 tablets a day for a catalogue of health problems, got confused and swallowed two days worth in one go.
Son Mark Langford, 53, from Wickford, said: “At about 5.00pm he had become really ill and dehydrated.
He takes all sorts of medication, including morphine, and stuff for kidney and heart problems. We called NHS Direct and they called for an ambulance.”
He said a paramedic from East of England Ambulance Service was there quickly, but an ambulance never arrived.
He added: “It never showed so at 8pm I decided to drive him to the hospital, with the paramedic following.
There were five ambulances stuck outside the hospital with patients inside.
We later found out it was because there were no beds available in the hospital.”
William was assessed within an hour, including a blood test and ECG which showed heart problems.
There was a further two hour wait before he was called in. Mark said: “When we went through there was a nurse arguing with the doctor.
She had a raised voice and was saying to the consultant “how many times do we have to keep telling you there are no beds to treat anyone”.
“I said so you are telling me we have just waited more than three hours and you can’t even treat my dad.”
Mark said he could not get a straight answer and they flitted between saying they could treat him, but not at the moment.
He added: “In the end I just gave up. I said I will try another hospital. I phoned Broomfield in Chelmsford.
They did not believe what I was saying so called the department at Basildon for confirmation.
Then they said to bring him in, so I took the blood and ECG results from Basildon.”
The pair arrived there at about midnight last Monday.
There were also no beds at Broomfield, but they improvised by using an examination trolley.
His body was flushed of the drugs and he was successfully treated by 6am.” The hospital has apologised to the Langford over their experience.
A hospital spokeswoman said they treated 269 patients in the emergency department, about 20 more than normal, but there was a high volume of serious cases.
There were twelve patients requiring resuscitation when there are only five resuscitation beds.
More than 120 of the patients were also described as majors who have serious conditions.
She said: “The department was very busy which meant some patients had to wait longer than normal to be admitted.”
An ambulance trust spokeswoman said the service was dealing with about 12 other emergency calls at the same time.
She said a rapid response vehicle and paramedic were dispatched within ten minutes.
She said: “Following that, welfare calls made to him and it was explained to us on these occasions that the patient’s condition had not worsened. At 8.20pm, Mark took his father to the hospital, and the clinician followed.”