Woman tells of 27-hour A&E wait hell as she slams lack of communication and claims 'strikes have made it worse'

21 December 2023, 10:45

Woman spent 27 hours in A&E

By Kit Heren

A woman has told of her hellish 27-hour wait in A&E - her fifteenth time in the emergency department in the past three months.

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Stevenage resident Samantha, who suffers from gall stones, told LBC's Nick Ferrari of a lack of communication and clerical errors from hospital staff during her wait.

Samantha, who also said she had a "very complicated medical background", told Nick that she thought that the recent doctors' strikes had made waiting times worse.

It comes after junior doctors went on strike for three days on Wednesday, before another round of industrial action begins on January 3.

Doctors and nurses have been on strike this year, causing over a million missed appointments and other delays.

Read more: Ambulances unable to attend 1 in 6 call-outs due to handover delays - with crews spending 'entire shifts' outside A&E

Read more: Over 300,000 operations and appointments at risk of cancellation during junior doctors’ strikes over festive period

Doctors on strike on Thursday
Doctors on strike on Thursday. Picture: Alamy

Samantha told Nick on Thursday: "I have been diagnosed with gall stones - in the past three months I would say I have had 15 admissions to A&E...

"I’ve been in there for over 27 hours before."

Describing her ordeal at the hospital, which she did not name, Samantha said: "I arrived about 10.30 in the morning, and then I was still there 10.30 the next day, just sitting in a plastic chair in A&E, with many other people who were there.

She was seen by a triage nurse within a couple of hours, and a doctor after five. Then blood tests took several more hours - but these were "unsatisfactory," so they had to be taken again.

After that, Samantha had to wait to see the on-call surgeon.

She told Nick of her fears of getting sick while waiting in hospital. "There’s Covid, there’s flu - I’ve got a very complicated medical background," she said.

The woman was waiting in hospital for over a day
The woman was waiting in hospital for over a day. Picture: Alamy

Samantha was in A&E again this week, and spent ten and a half hours waiting in the hospital before being sent home with pain relief. "I have to say my last admission... was good."

Samantha said the doctors' strikes had "made it worse."

She said: "There seems to be no communication between departments," adding that doctors had made errors with her drugs.

It comes after Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said the strikes were “disappointing” as she said the government was doing everything it can to prepare for the walkout.

She said: “When the junior doctors committee called the strikes, that has very very serious consequences for the NHS.

“NHS England, I liken it to an oil tank, it cannot be switched on and off at will.

“We’ve had managers, clinicians, medical directors up and down the country diverting resources and attention away from the challenges that the NHS faces every winter into trying to ensure that the system remains stable and safe during the strikes. We cannot turn that around on a whim”.

Ms Atkins would not be drawn on whether she had a fresh offer to make to junior doctors.

Asked if it would be possible to avert the strikes set to commence on January 3, Ms Atkins said: “That is the most difficult week in the NHS calendar which is why it is particularly disappointing they have chosen this week over all the other weeks of the year to do this.