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State of our hospitals is shameful

Readers' letters | Published:

Recently I had the misfortune to be admitted to the A&E department at Shrewsbury Hospital.

I arrived, by ambulance, in the early hours of the morning, having previously contacted the NHS Direct Wales. The ambulance crew was extremely thorough and performed a number of tests before they were told by Shropdoc to take me to A&E.

Upon reaching A&E I was put on a trolley in a corridor and was advised that I would probably remain there all night as all the beds were full, and indeed there I remained with several other patients on trolleys. I had a blanket but no pillow, they had run out.

A male nurse going off duty stopped to speak to me and told me that he was angry and upset that people, particularly the elderly, were having to be treated in this way and he was fearful that this was going to become the new “normal”.

During a sleepless night I observed what was going on. The staff, many of whom were clearly exhausted, were unfailingly cheerful, thoughtful and efficient.

I cannot praise them highly enough. Their dedication to their work was very evident and my admiration and respect for them is boundless.

However, nobody with such responsibility for people’s lives should have to work in these conditions of relentless pressure day after day, night after night. And with little remuneration. Nobody should have to lie on a trolley all night with no privacy and in great discomfort, with no knowledge of when they will be seen by a doctor and when this nightmare will end.

We are not a third-world/emerging country, we are not at war, we once led the world in medicine and care of the sick. How is it that successive governments have allowed our National Health Service – once the pride of the UK – to deteriorate to such a parlous extent?

It is utterly shameful!

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Mitzi Upton, Kerry, Newtown

Sara Biffen, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, responded:

“In common with hospitals across the country, our hospitals have faced enormous demand over the last few months and I would like to pay tribute to our hard-working staff for all they have done to ensure the continued safe treatment of our patients.

“We do everything in our power to try to ensure patients do not need to wait on trolleys.

“The issues facing our hospitals have been well documented, but we continue to work tirelessly to address these. Our performance against the four-hour A&E target have seen some encouraging improvement in recent weeks.

"In the longer term, we look forward to the start of public consultation on the NHS Future Fit programme, which has been designed to address these issues both now and for future generations.”

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