Staff and facilities at the Horton General Hospital are struggling under severe pressure as the reduction in medical beds takes effect, it has been claimed.
A Banbury woman described her friend’s four trips to A&E on successive days before being admitted to critical care ‘disgraceful’.
Gail Hancox said the department and the emergency assessment unit were in chaos as doctors tried to find beds for sick patients and sent home others who needed admission.
“My friend, David Connor, was taken to A&E by ambulance on Thursday with a lung problem. He has pulmonary fibrosis and had a pneumothorax which was causing his lung to collapse,” she said.
“He was given an X-ray and kept in EAU overnight but on Friday he was sent home. But the hospital rang that day to say they’d seen something and to come back on Saturday for another X-ray. This showed the problem had got worse but they still sent him home, telling him to return the next day. But he was bad so we went up Saturday and he stayed in.
“Oxford said his X-ray was stable on Sunday and he was sent home again but he got up on Monday and collapsed. The ambulance staff gave him oxygen immediately and he had to have an emergency chest drain in A&E from where he went into critical care.
“They should not have kept sending him home. The A&E department was really crowded. There must have been at least 20 patients waiting on trolleys, in the waiting room and corridors and one elderly lady was having to wait under the canopy outside A&E,” she said.
Ms Hancock said Mr Connor was to be transferred to Oxford as soon as a bed was available there but she had no transport and no way to get to see him.
Paul Brennan, spokesman for the OUH said: “In common with acute hospital trusts up and down the country, we have experienced an increase in attendances at our emergency departments.
“This is a busy time of year and I would like to take the opportunity to remind people that the ‘Choose Well’ advice will help them find the best health service for their needs.” www.oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk/your-health/choose-well/