NHS hospitals now have 'corridor nurses' because of overfull A&E departments

Hospitals are under severe pressure due to overwhelming demand and bed shortages

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Nurses at NHS hospitals are treating patients in corridors because of severe overcrowding in A&E departments.

Footage taken by the BBC shows patients waiting more than four hours to be seen at Royal Blackburn Hospital, where at one point last week 33 beds were available for 95 seriously ill people.

Nurse Danielle Turner told the broadcaster: “We actually have corridor nurses now as well, which shows times are very desperate”.

Doctors have warned of worsening conditions in overstretched NHS hospitals, said to be at breaking point due to overwhelming demand and bed shortages – with the number of patients on wards reportedly at unsafe levels at nine out of ten NHS trusts in England.

Janet Davies, head of the Royal College of Nursing, told The Independent the organisation had heard from “nurses across the country who are working in badly overcrowded hospitals, striving to give the best care they can in extremely difficult circumstances.”

“It’s an understatement to say that treating patients and holding what are often very personal discussions in a corridor is unacceptable,” she said.

Labour MP Ronnie Campbell, who recently received treatment for stomach cancer from the NHS, told Theresa May the current situation in Britain’s hospitals was “not the way we want the health service to run”.

Patients in corridors at Royal Blackburn Hospital (Screenshot from BBC footage)

He said he had seen “the best side of the NHS”, adding: “it’s been absolutely wonderful, the service I got. But there is a flipside, that we’re seeing today.”

“We have dedicated nurses called ‘corridor nurses’, who are in the corridor looking after patients on trolleys,” said Mr Campbell during Prime Minister’s Questions.

“Quite honestly Minister, that’s not the way we want the health service to run. We want it to run in the way that saved me. Get your purse open, and give them the money they want.”

In response, Ms May welcomed him back to the chamber after his sick leave but did not promise any further funding for the health service. 

“The north east is a very good example of some of the really good practice we see in the NHS, what I want to see is that good practice being spread across the NHS across the whole country,” she said.

The British Red Cross last month warned of a “humanitarian crisis” in Britain’s hospitals after two patients died on trolleys in the A&E department of Worcestershire Royal hospital.

Christine Pearson, director of nursing at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Blackburn, said many hospitals across the country were experiencing “severe pressure”.

“While we do not want to have patients waiting on trolleys in corridors, when this does happen at times of high demand, our nurses continue to look after these patients ensuring that they are safely cared for at all times whilst anywhere in the department,” she told The Independent.

The Royal Blackburn has been rated 'good' but has been under intense pressure since the A&E department at Chorley hospital, 13 miles away, was downgraded to an urgent care centre due to a doctor shortage.

Theresa May acknowledges incidents of 'unacceptable practice' in NHS

Chorley hospital's department has now been upgraded back to an A&E unit but is only open 12 hours a day, reported the Daily Mail.

In a 2012 survey of more than 1,000 nurses and healthcare assistants, more than a fifth of nurses said patients were receiving care in corridors or other unsuitable areas every day.