TWENTY ambulances were seen queuing outside Southend Hospital on Monday night amid reports of patients waiting 16 hours to be seen at A&E.

Photographs taken from a hospital window demonstrate the scale of the problem, with 20 ambulances visibly queuing in one shot.

In one photo, taken by a patient awaiting emergency surgery, another patient can be seen waiting inside an ambulance to be disembarked.


The patient, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’ve never seen a hospital like this, it's absolute chaos.

“The ambulance queues were outrageous and inside its no better. There is nowhere left to put people, so they are sat in the hallways waiting to be seen.

“By midnight it was chaos, everywhere was completely crowded, with lots of elderly people waiting to be treated.”

The 44-year-old patient, himself a Southend resident, says he waited eight hours to be treated, but claims he has spoken to other patients who say they had to wait 16 hours to be disembarked from an ambulance and seen by a doctor.

He added: “I feel sorry for the nurses and doctors, they are so stressed running around like crazy trying to see everyone.

“They are under a lot of pressure, it’s endless.”

Long ambulance queues outside the hospital have become a common sight in the last nine months.

Campaign group Save Southend NHS has been calling for improvements in patient waiting times.

A spokesman for the group said: “Financial cuts over a number of years mean the East of England Ambulance Service Trust and Southend Hospital have been starved of resources.

“We need to see immediate increases in funding, year on year, to get our NHS back to the safer levels it was 12 plus years ago.

“Some of our members have been reporting waiting times of 12 hours or more on a regular basis for the past few years.”

A spokesman for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Southend Hospital, said: “Our hospitals have experienced particularly high demand for their services recently, with many arriving at A&E by ambulance, reflecting just how busy local NHS and social care providers are.


“We are all working together as a system to respond to this higher demand for services, so that we can provide the best possible care for our patients."