Sheffield NHS commissioning governors told of mum and child's six hour hospital A&E wait

A Sheffield GP has told how a mum refused to take her child to A&E after waiting six hours there the previous night.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 1:22 pm

Dr Leigh Sorsbie told health officials at the Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group about the case, as they heard how many services across Sheffield were failing to meet targets, and warned the NHS was not coping well.

Concerns were also raised about issues also including ambulance times.

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Concern has been raised about patients avoiding going to A&E. General views of the A&E dept at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1006/54c

Dr Sorsbie said: “I’ve heard news reports that we’ve weathered the storm, we’ve done really well managing this pandemic, and the NHS is surviving. It’s by the skin of our teeth, and it isn’t clear what the cost has been to other health issues.”

She had heard there was no longer routine transport for many people to outpatient appointments because the ambulance service had not got the staff to do it.

“That is a huge impact,” she said. “That is not the NHS coping well. It’s the NHS under pressure. Talk to anyone in wards, in A&E, whether staff or patients, I’ve had lots of patients saying they won’t go to A&E even when they need to.”

She added: “I had a mother of a child. She wouldn’t take her child to A&E when it was clearly indicated because she’d already been there the previous night, waited six hours, and couldn’t bear it any more because her child couldn’t cope.

“It is not coping, and I think it’s really important we get that message fed up the system as well as we can.”

Cancer figure on target

But she said she was pleased to see targets for the time from cancer diagnosis to treatment had been met.

“That’s really important,” she said.

GP NIkki Bates added it seemed some places were doing better than others getting patients out of ambulances into appropriate clinical settings.

Trish Edney, of Healthwatch Sheffield, said: “I think there is so much understanding of the terrible position that the NHS is in, but it is understanding until it gets to you. People can say the right words but they know the NHS is under strain.

"But when it’s affecting you, it becomes all encompassing and this is where we get the crisis point. I think Leigh’s story of a lot of people not wanting to go to A&E is true. People all react differently and there are going to be stories and it’s going to take a long time for people’s memory of all this to go.

“Even in a years time, or two years time, when you’re actually managing your access really well...people will still remember that you can’t get an appointment at the GP, and you can’t get an ambulance, and that the wait in A&E is terrible, because people’s memories are really quite long about disasters.”

Concerns over Sheffield ambulance times

Nurse and board lay member, Judy Thorley said delays in ambulance times could make a huge difference. At present, calls for life threatening emergencies are taking 11mins 4secs. The target is seven minutes.

Director of commissioning development Sandie Buchan said ambulance response and handover times were part of the daily conversations with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, and there were action plans fed up to NHS England.

Ambulance times are to be taken to the Commissioning group’s Quality Assurance Committee for more detailed discussion, governors agreed.