Fourteen ambulances stack outside Morriston Hospital
A MUM has branded ambulance stacking outside Morriston Hospital as farcical.
Sian Smitham claimed there were 14 of them waiting hours to unload patients at A&E on Tuesday night and, at the same time, 19 emergency calls for help from sick members of the public.
Mrs Smitham, who was with her ill grandmother at the time, said: "I want to get an AM down there and ask: 'Would you be happy if it was your gran?'. You can sense the frustration of the ambulance crews. It just seemed farcical."
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health (ABMU) Board said an "exceptional" number of ambulances arrived with seriously ill patients on Tuesday night, and some were diverted to other hospitals.
Another woman, who asked the Post not to name her because her partner works within the NHS, claimed ambulance stacking was hitting "dangerous levels".
She said: "Lives are being put at risk, as well as the wellbeing of paramedics and A&E staff." Mrs Smitham said she did not blame hospital staff, and felt it was time to end free prescriptions, costing £585 million per year in Wales, to spend on A&Es.
The 36-year-old, of Neath Abbey, explained that her gran, of Trallwn, Swansea, had exhibited stroke-like symptoms and was taken to Morriston A&E at around 8.15pm on Tuesday.
She said: "When we got there I could not believe the queues of ambulances."
She said paramedics liaised with medics inside A&E and administered oxygen to her gran inside the ambulance but could not inject intravenous drugs.
She said three and a half hours later her gran, who had an infection rather than a stroke, was admitted but spent the night on a trolley in a section of A&E. "I overheard another ambulance man saying there were 19 calls outstanding," said Mrs Smitham, of Danygraig Road.
"It was also mentioned that Llanelli's one ambulance was also waiting to deliver its patient."
The roles of the region's hospitals are being examined under ABMU's Changing For the Better programme and another, at times overlapping, South Wales Programme. ABMU's programme concedes that its A&E departments at Morriston and Bridgend's Princess of Wales Hospital "have a chronic shortage of doctors, both middle grade and at consultant level, which puts them under constant pressure".
The Welsh Government expects 95 per cent of patients to be seen by medics within four hours of arriving at A&E. The figure for Morriston in February was 76 per cent. Health chiefs expect paramedics to respond to 65 per cent of emergency calls within eight minutes. The latest figures were 63 per cent for Swansea, 53 for Neath Port Talbot, and 58 for Carmarthenshire.
Two weeks ago nearly half of Wales's A&E consultants signed a letter to Health Minister Mark Drakeford claiming patients were dying because A&E departments were reaching meltdown.
An ABMU spokeswoman said extra consultants were brought in to Morriston on Tuesday night, adding: "We are focussing on discharging appropriate patients back into the community with support."