A&E nurse asks Facebook to ‘have faith’ as Stevenage’s Lister Hospital struggles with rise in patients

An A&E nurse at Stevenage's Lister Hospital has taken to Facebook asking people to 'have faith in th

An A&E nurse at Stevenage's Lister Hospital has taken to Facebook asking people to 'have faith in the staff despite the NHS crisis'. - Credit: Archant

An emergency department nurse at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital has taken to social media to ask people to ‘have faith in the staff despite the NHS crisis’ – after a rise in patient numbers.

Nationally, there has been an unexplained rise in the number of acutely unwell patients being brought into A&E who are admitted to hospital.

Between 2009/10 and 2014/15, emergency admissions across the country rose by 18 per cent, with A&E attendances rising by nine per cent over the same period.

Currently, about 300 people are seen in the emergency department at Lister every day, and about 130 people are seen daily at the urgent care centre at the QEII in Welwyn Garden City. This represents a rise of almost 20 per cent for the East and North Herts NHS Trust – which runs the two hospitals – since 2011/12.

A Lister emergency department nurse, who wished to remain anonymous in the Comet, had finished a stressful night shift and was lying in bed unable to sleep when she decided to make a post on Facebook.

She wrote: “Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a nurse.

“I’m embarrassed your relative is complaining to me that you have been waiting up to seven hours to be seen by a doctor.

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“I’m embarrassed I said I would get you a cup of tea but was caught up in an emergency.

I’m embarrassed you were left on the commode longer than needed because I was next door while my other patient was having a seizure.

“I’m embarrassed there’s no beds in the hospital and as your mother took her last breath she had to listen to the drunk person shouting abuse in the next cubicle.

“I’m embarrassed I don’t have time to care as much as I should.

“Nursing is a struggle of prioritisation everyday and no matter what we do we can’t please everyone. We do the best we can with the facilities and very little staff we have. “Please respect that we are busy 24/7. We don’t stop. We go out of our way to ensure your relatives are safe, even if that means missing our break. Please have faith in us despite the NHS crisis.”

The nurse said a large proportion of A&E patients are the elderly, people with mental health problems and people who are drunk.

She said: “The wait can be so long sometimes, but I can’t emphasise enough how much it’s not our fault.”

An NHS trust spokesman, who highlighted that £1.5 million has been spent on additional nursing staff for the Lister’s A&E service, said: “The challenge is for the whole health system, not just the NHS trust’s hospitals.

“Through the use of early interventions, primary, community and social care, colleagues are looking to reduce the number of patients who need to come to hospital, especially as emergencies.

“Work is underway to review and fine tune the trust’s emergency pathway to ensure patients are seen, treated and either admitted or discharged home more quickly than is the case currently, as well as different models of care that could see some medical patients treated on an ambulatory care basis rather than being admitted to a hospital bed.”

The public are urged to dial 111 and not 999, unless it is an emergency.