A YORK paramedic was left waiting in agony in A&E for 10 hours because there was no treatment room free for him to be given the IV drip he needed.

The 30-year-old, who doesn’t want to be named, says a doctor came to see him four times while he was in the A&E waiting area, and told a nurse: “We need to get him urgently on fluids."

But, despite despite being brought into A&E by a family member at 10.30am, it wasn’t until 8pm that staff where finally able to find him a treatment room where he could be hooked up to a drip.

The paramedic has suffered since he was 18 from chronic pancreatitis – permanent damage to the pancreas, a small organ which produces digestive enzymes and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

York Press: Ambulances at York HospitalAmbulances at York Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

He doesn’t drink or smoke, but the condition still regularly flares up.

When it does it is agonising, he said – and can also be serious.

It causes nausea and searing pain. “It is recognised as one of the most painful illnesses that exist,” he said. “Your pancreas is poisoning you from the inside out.”

Throughout his time in the waiting room at A&E, he was repeatedly told that staff were trying to find a treatment room where he could be put on a drip - but that they couldn’t hook him up until a room became free.

He said other people had been waiting in A&E even longer.


Two men he met had both been waiting for more than 20 hours, he said. “One was waiting for a hospital bed, one for an MRI scan.”

He said a nurse told him his own 10-hour wait was nothing unusual.

“She said to me ‘I don’t know why you are surprised. This is not new. These waits are happening every single day’.”

After a three day stay in hospital last week, the paramedic is now recovering at home.

But he said he felt he had to speak out to highlight the huge strains the NHS is under.

Despite its new £18 million emergency department which opened last summer, York Hospital simply did not have the capacity to meet the demands being placed upon it, he said.

York Press: York Hospital's new £18 million emergency department being opened last summerYork Hospital's new £18 million emergency department being opened last summer (Image: Nrewsquest)

“There is a huge concern that the hospital is beyond capacity. Unless it is urgent the wait times will be exceptionally long.

“To have two people waiting over 23 hours in (A&E) at York is a disgrace and something our main regional hospital need to address urgently.”

He said his own condition could potentially prove fatal if left untreated.

“Yet I couldn't be treated because of the overwhelming demand York seems to be under daily.”

A spokesperson for York Hospital said: “We are sorry to hear about this patient’s experience and would urge them to contact us directly so that we can respond to their concerns.”

The spokesperson added: “We have recently invested in our emergency department which included an extensive refurbishment and two-storey expansion.

“However, like other trusts, the pressures felt in our emergency departments are part of a broader challenge across the NHS.

York Press: Emergency departments are struggling to cope with demandEmergency departments are struggling to cope with demand (Image: Other)

“Inevitably … despite significant planning, these challenges intensify during the most pressured winter months.

“When people attend the emergency department, we conduct a preliminary assessment to determine the urgency of their need for treatment. This helps us prioritise patients, so that we see the most seriously unwell people first.

“We recognise this means some patients spend longer in the emergency department and we are sorry for this. Our staff are working exceptionally hard in the most difficult of circumstances.”

Why are A&E waits so long?

Hospital emergency departments are always busy at this time of year.

But politicians and experts alike say the only way to solve the problem of long hospital waits is to sort out social care.

York Press: York HospitalYork Hospital (Image: Newsquest)

YORK Central MP Rachael Maskell said: “I know everyone’s instinct is to pour more and more into emergency care. However, the NHS will not be fixed until social care is sorted.

“When a quarter of patients (in hospital) are waiting for a package so they can be discharged safely, fixing social care will free up the beds and enable the rest of the NHS to function as it should.”

York Hospital itself acknowledges this.

In a statement, it said the pressures on the NHS were caused by ‘greater numbers of patients who are more seriously unwell, and many patients who are medically fit for discharge but are delayed in hospital’.

A spokesperson for Healthwatch York added: “Staff at A&E and throughout the hospital are under extreme pressure.

“These challenging circumstances are not specific to York but are being experienced across the country. There are national problems that require a national commitment to resolve.”

The Healthwatch spokesperson urged people to try alternatives to A&E if their health issue was not an emergency.

“The new Pharmacy First scheme enables local chemists to prescribe medication for seven additional health conditions without the need to see a GP,” the spokesperson said.

“GPs and NHS 111 can also provide advice and urgent care.

“Trying other options can make sure everyone who really needs A&E gets seen quickly.”