Patient had 46-hour wait on hospital trolley for ward bed
A HOSPITAL patient was kept waiting nearly two days before being admitted to a ward from A&E, the latest figures for Hywel Dda Health Board show.
Statistics gained through the Freedom of Information Act showed one patient was kept waiting on a hospital trolley for 46 hours and 38 minutes — leading health campaigners to accuse the board of "gross mismanagement".
The figure was the second single longest waiting time at any health board or health trust across the UK.
Hywel Dda pointed out that the average waiting time over the last financial year was one hour 55 minutes — five hours less than the longest average wait across the UK. But Llanelli's Committee for the Improvement of Hospital Services chairman Bryan Hitchman was outraged to learn of the figures.
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He has helped to lead a campaign in Llanelli against the health board's plan to replace A&E services at Prince Philip Hospital with a nurse-led local accident centre and an emergency acute medical care unit. The proposals — which are currently under consultation — would see emergency patients having to travel to Carmarthen's Glangwili Hospital for treatment.
"The waiting on a trolley times is hardly inspiring for Hywel Dda," he said.
"The second highest of 46 hours and 38 minutes in the UK speaks volumes for the selective hearing and listening process they have been through.
"These facts, coupled with those of the increased risks associated with long ambulance journeys do little to support the trust's ideas for our health service.
"It begs the question if you cannot get the basic service provision right, what happens to the rest?"
A Hywel Dda spokeswoman said that while attendances at A&E departments were increasing, the majority of patients are provided with "timely care and treatment".
"The average time between a patient being referred from one of our major departments and being admitted to a ward during this time period was one hour and 15 minutes, and patients receive ongoing assessment and treatment appropriate to their condition during this time," she added.
"In regards to the longest recorded treatment times, these relate to patients who remained under the registered care of the A&E teams for specific clinical reasons appropriate to their needs.
"This includes clinically unwell patients who required prolonged stabilisation, patients who required prolonged recovery from alcohol or drug overdoses, patients with specific mental health problems and patients who died within the A&E department.
"Some patients will not have been physically present in the A&E departments for the total recorded times and during periods of peak demand some patients may receive ongoing care for extended periods, such as overnight, due to capacity pressures elsewhere in the hospital."
Hywel Dda's neighbouring health board — Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board — was unable to supply the information.