Elderly woman ‘frightened and crying’ after 40 hours on hospital trolley

A 96-year-old woman with pneumonia was left “frightened and crying” after spending 40 hours on a hospital trolley in a corridor due to a lack of spare beds, an MSP has said.

Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane, a practising GP, raised the case during a Holyrood debate on NHS waiting times.

He said last week saw the worst A&E figures on record and warned dedicated NHS staff are “burning out”.

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Dr Gulhane told MSPs: “Yesterday evening I spoke to Norrie. Norrie’s mother is 96 and has pneumonia.

Conservative MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane

“Norrie’s mum was taken to her Ayrshire hospital A&E department last Thursday at 8 o’clock.

“The department was incredibly busy, too busy. Still, Norrie’s mum was triaged within 90 minutes.

“The staff were clearly doing their very best – but let’s face it, they can’t conjure up more nurses or hospital beds. And there were no spare beds – none at all.

“Norrie’s mum spent 40 hours on a trolley, in a busy corridor, cold and beside automatic doors that opened and closed every couple of minutes.

“Norrie’s mum was frightened and crying, she was breathless and disorientated, all alone because family were not allowed to be with her.

“On Saturday afternoon, 40 hours after she first presented, she was moved to the clinical assessment unit – where she is now.

"And I can say that she is beginning to feel a bit better.

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“Can any of us imagine how we would feel if this happened to our own granny or mum?

“Norrie really knows about healthcare – he’s been a GP for 40 years – and he cannot accept that this is what awaits his patients and his family.”

Dr Gulhane tabled a motion in Holyrood calling on the Scottish Government to re-write its NHS recovery plan ahead of this winter.

Responding, SNP Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the pandemic had caused the “biggest shock” to the NHS in its 74-year existence.

He said A&E waiting time statistics were "simply not acceptable” but noted there had been improvement.

Mr Yousaf said: “While I absolutely accept we still face challenges due to the effects of the pandemic, let me praise our NHS staff and social care staff for the incredible, passionate care they provide for the people of Scotland day in and day out.”

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