Pensioner, 95, left waiting 30 hours in ‘war zone’ NHS corridor

A 95-year-old man waited for nearly 30 hours on a trolley in a hospital corridor in scenes his son described as “like something from a war zone”. Harry Lyness, 95, was taken to the new Royal Liverpool Hospital after falling at his care home.

After arriving at the hospital, Mr Lyness joined a long queue of patients waiting on trolleys in the corridor.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, his son, John, 61, said he couldn’t believe how many makeshift beds there were in the hallway.

He said: “The first thing you see when you walk into this brand new hospital is a massive, long corridor absolutely full of patients on trolleys. It was like something out of a disaster movie where there has been a major incident or an attack.

“I could not believe how many of these makeshift beds there were lined up in a row. Some people were crying out in pain, others had mental health issues, and many of them were elderly and frail. It was like a war zone.”

John eventually found some screens to put around his dad so he had some privacy. He added: “It was chaos. The staff are doing their absolute best in terrible circumstances, but how can this be happening in a new hospital in one of the richest countries in the world?

“He was lying there with no privacy, urinating into bedpans on a busy corridor in front of everyone. There was no dignity.”

John the scene inside the hospital was “mayhem” with “noise everywhere”. He said: “I actually thought I needed to get him out of there after a while. He is so frail and I was worried the situation could make him much worse. I was worried it could see him off.”

Despite the mayhem, John said the staff “were doing their absolute best for us” and that the situation “is not their fault”. He said he could tell some of them were embarrassed by the situation.

He added: “It should not be normal for bed spaces to be created along corridors like this – there were markings labelled space 1, space in the corridor with sockets, this should never be normal.”

Following a long battle, John convinced a team of physiotherapists that his Dad was well enough to return to his care home to recover. However, he said the experience has left him worried about the future of the NHS.

He said: “The NHS is on its knees, it’s disgraceful what the government have done to it. My dad is 95 years old and has worked all his life and never asked for anything.

“Now he’s old and frail and needs help and had to spend all that time on a corridor because of what’s happened to the NHS. It is shameful.”

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In a statement, the chief nurse at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, David Melier said: “Receiving care on a corridor or facing long waits is not the experience we want for any of our patients, and our A&E teams are working incredibly hard to treat people as quickly as possible whilst taking the necessary actions needed to maintain safe care and dignity.

“However, like many hospitals, we continue to experience high levels of demand alongside challenges in safely discharging patients who no longer require hospital care. This means we cannot always admit patients from A&E as quickly as we would like to.

“We are working closely with our local partners in adult and social care to ensure patients who no longer need our care can be discharged and cared for in the right place by the right teams.

“Our Patient Advice and Complaints Team is available if Harry would like to discuss any aspects of his experience with us directly. Local communities can help us by only using A&E when it is an emergency, and using the NHS 111 service to find alternative services if they have less urgent concerns.”

A spokesperson for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside added: “Our priority, as always, is to ensure safe and high-quality care for people in Cheshire and Merseyside, but is no secret that urgent and emergency services up and down the country are under significant pressure.

“The NHS continues to employ tried and tested plans to respond to periods of pressure. Too many patients currently remain in hospital despite being medically fit for discharge.

“Intensive and focused work is underway with health and care partners, including those in local Government, to urgently address this challenge.”

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