Patients being treated outside hospitals as A&E’s hit full capacity

Scotland’s health service is in crisis as patients are being treated outside hospitals and in offices.

Up and down the country NHS hospitals are feeling the strain of increasing demand, and now A&E departments in Scotland have run out of space for incoming patients.

Doctors have described taking patients outside for private discussions and patients have also had to endure 40 hour long waits on trolleys in corridors.

Some now fear this could contribute to even more issues as people risk catching flu and Covid-19 because there is not enough capacity to isolate those with the illnesses.

John-Paul Loughrey, vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, warned on Friday that there have been many “clinical incidents and near misses” as patients are forced to wait.

He continued: “I am aware of colleagues who have three or four incidents to record but they cannot sit down recording when patients have been queuing six to seven hours to be seen. People are frightened to come to work now.”

One potential reason the queues have grown so quickly is the influx of flu patients arriving at hospitals extremely ill.

Others have suggested that the situation has been caused by a shortage of beds in wards due to problems with social care.

The Times spoke to consultants who say they “dread: the New Year weekend and first week of January with the situation becoming unmanageable.

One specialist from Glasgow told the newspaper: “This is beyond collapse where people are coming to harm from long waits to be seen.

“These are not inappropriate attendances; these are all people that are unwell and experiencing extraordinary delays at every aspect of their journey.”

The consultant, who wished to remain anonymous, also told of how six ambulances were waiting to drop patients off but had nowhere to offload them.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, an emergency medicine consultant has described what he saw on Thursday at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

David Caesar said: “We are seeing patients anywhere we can: in corners and corridors, and occasionally the best place for a private discussion with a patient who is well enough is outside the emergency department’s front doors. I can talk to them in the calm, away from the crowd, and then often send them home.”

He said the prospect of Hogmanay in the capital was being anticipated with “impending doom”.

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