Hospital staffing row after holiday wait

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PATIENTS at Skegness Hospital were outraged after waiting hours to be seen by the ‘only’ doctor on call during one of the town’s busiest weekends.

Denise Hares took her 17-year-old daughter Leanne to the hospital mid-morning on Bank Holiday Monday with breathing problems and an inflamed throat.

Despite feeling sick and dizzy-headed, Leanne was made to wait for two and a half hours before treatment after her mum was told that a doctor had not been replaced after calling in sick.

Denise said: “It was chaos, my daughter was feeling very woozy and yet she had nowhere to lie down.

“The staff were running around like headless chickens trying to keep up.”

Staff informed Denise that the hospital had been running on just one doctor for two days, despite the August Bank Holiday being one of the town’s busiest weekends.

“For a seaside resort, really you would think there would be more on call, not less - it’s ridiculous,” said Denise.

Leanne, who is taking an apprenticeship in child care at a local nursery, was diagnosed with severe tonsillitis and glandular fever.

Despite the wait, her mother has praised the care she received when it was finally available and has sympathised with the staff for being made to work in those conditions.

“The staff that were there were great but they were clearly feeling the stress and pressure and it’s not on to be honest,” she said.

Denise believes there will be a significant number of complaints made about the waiting times and staff provision, as many more patients were angered by the delays and asked for forms to raise their grievances.

Skegness Hospital has recently been rebranded as an urgent care centre rather than an accident and emergency facility.

Although the Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust claims the change in name does not represent a downgrading in the level of service provided, Denise fears that her experiences demonstrate that it does.

The Trust admitted a doctor had called in sick, but stressed another was drafted in, the hospital was not under-strength for long and national waiting time guidelines were met.

Catherine Wylie, General Manager for the Trust’s North East Business Unit, said: “We would normally have two doctors and a number of nursing staff on duty.

“Unfortunately, one of the doctors called in sick on Bank Holiday Monday and waiting times may have been delayed slightly while a covering practitioner travelled to the hospital. However, the service continued to deliver the best possible care and waiting times remained well within the national standard of four hours.”

I am pleased that Mrs Hares found our staff to be professional, polite and courteous, and I would be happy to discuss any concerns she may have.”