Patients claim A&E department at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital ‘is in meltdown’

Some patients at Stevenage's Lister Hospital have said the A&E department is not coping.

Some patients at Stevenage's Lister Hospital have said the A&E department is not coping. - Credit: Archant

Ambulances queuing to hand over patients, the sick and injured left on trolleys in corridors, and people waiting up to nine hours to be seen by a doctor – that is the situation at the A&E department at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital according to some who say the service ‘is in meltdown’.

Nick Carver says the real challenge has been unplanned growth in attendances.

Nick Carver says the real challenge has been unplanned growth in attendances. - Credit: Archant

Ambulances queuing to hand over patients, the sick and injured left on trolleys in corridors, and people waiting up to nine hours to be seen by a doctor – that is the situation at the A&E department at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital according to some who say the service ‘is in meltdown’.

Last week, the Comet reported how A&E waiting time targets set by the government have not been met since emergency services were centralised at Lister following the closure of the emergency department at the QEII in Welwyn Garden City in October 2014.

Adult minor injury services have been suspended twice this year at Lister’s A&E due to the number of more serious cases, and patients have been contacting the Comet to share their experiences.

Derek Holding said: “It took seven hours before I saw a nurse and almost nine hours before I saw a doctor. One person I saw was there 16 hours before she was admitted.”


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Beverley Fye said: “Lister’s A&E is not coping. Eight ambulances were queuing to get in and patients were left in corridors for 24 hours last week. The place is in meltdown.”

Stephanie McEnaney said: “There were 22 people in the corridor with my father – all on stretchers. The ambulance crew had to stay with us for four hours while they tried to hand my dad over to the hospital.”

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But people have also been praising A&E staff. Vicky Collett said: “We were seen in just over four hours. The staff were working hard and remained well-mannered and level-headed. How they work under such pressure is beyond me.”

Niki Fleming added: “The staff were fantastic, but had to waste their time on drunks. Yes, it was a long wait, but the staff were so friendly and calm, even in the toughest situations.”

Nick Carver, the chief executive of the East and North Herts NHS Trust – which runs Lister – said: “Today the Lister’s emergency department has greater capacity and more staff with higher skill levels than previously was the case at both the Lister and former QEII hospitals combined.

“We would have been in a far worse position if the changes had not been made.

“The real challenge has been growth in attendances, especially those requiring admission - which has been higher than the original plans.

“We accept waiting times for some patients recently have been longer than we would have liked, and are sorry.

“A combination of higher numbers of very sick, frail patients requiring admission, along with the challenges of discharging people on to community-based services, has caused us problems.

“It is vital we work harder with colleagues in community and social care services to develop a sustainable solution.”

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