Election `97: 17-hour wait for hospital bed

THE CASUALTY PATIENT'S TALE
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The Independent Online
The local GP sent an ambulance to collect Margaret Cunningham, 62, after her grand-daughter, Simone, phoned to say she had been vomiting and had pains in her face and back. It was 17 hours before she was admitted to a hospital bed.

They arrived at North Manchester General hospital casualty department at 10.30am and Mrs Cunningham, a diabetic, was put on a trolley in a corridor. "She was in a lot of pain and she just wanted to lie down," said Simone, 22.

At 2pm she was moved to a chair in a cubicle because the trolley was needed for another patient. The bandage on her foot ulcer had come off but six hours later, when it had still not been re-dressed, Simone asked for a fresh bandage and did it herself.

At 10.30pm she was put back on another trolley because there were no beds. At midnight staff told her she was being transferred to Halifax across the Pennines. An ambulance arrived at 1.30am and she finally found a hospital bed at 3am.

Simone, who stayed with her grandmother, said: " She was very distressed. It made her worse. At Halifax she was diagnosed with pneumonia and put on two lots of antibiotics. My grandad had to hire a car to go and see her which cost pounds 75.

"I'm not blaming the staff, they did the best they could. It is more the Government's fault than the hospital's. There are not enough beds and there is not enough money."

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