A PATIENT at York Hospital has complained of being woken in the middle of the night and moved to sleep on a trolley in a temporary ward to free up beds.

Helen Thorne, 54, from Camblesforth, was staying in hospital following an operation on her hand when she was woken at 1.15am on Friday and moved into a temporary ward set up in the extended stay area along with about five other people.

She said she was moved without warning as there was a bed shortage in the hospital and she was expected to be discharged within the day.

Ms Thorne said: "There's a major problem with beds and they said they are on red alert and that's why we got moved.

"Others there were distraught at being moved in the middle of the night.

"When you're not well it's not nice."

The following day Ms Thorne said her doctor admitted struggling to find her after the move and she said there was a delay in discharge.

A York Hospital spokeswoman said the hospital continued to be extremely busy and is on red alert.

She said: "There is pressure for beds and an extended stay area has been opened. Patients are seen and assessed by medical staff and prioritised according to their clinical needs and sometimes patients will need to be moved to accommodate a more seriously ill patient.

"We have enhanced trolleys which we use on a daily basis for short stay patients. They are specially designed to be used for extended periods of care, up to 72 hours.

"If a patient has concerns about their care we would advise them to speak to a member of staff."

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been under immense pressure since before Christmas with an influx of high numbers of seriously ill patients. A major incident was temporarily declared at Scarborough Hospital in January and York Hospital remains on red alert.

In Christmas week, only 85 per cent of patients at York and Scarborough's emergency departments were seen within four hours, against a 95 per cent target.

At one stage, the knock-on effect for ambulances was so severe that a fire engine had to take an injured woman to hospital. The Hospital trust said it had been dealing with unprecedented levels of demand, exacerbated by staff sickness.

Dr Alastair Turnbull, medical director of the trust, said at the time that it had been hit by a "perfect storm" of higher patient numbers, sicker patients, problems with bed closures and staff shortages.

Many operations were cancelled to help ease the crisis.