Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hospital Plan to Put Beds in Canteen Boardroom

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hospital Plan to Put Beds in Canteen Boardroom

Article excerpt


A LONDON hospital is planning to put emergency patients in the boardroom, canteen and chapel to cope with bed shortages, the Evening Standard can reveal.

A policy document drawn up by managers at Ealing hospital also states that lecture theatres and outpatient areas will be used for emergency patients on trolleys.

Managers at the hospital are prepared to use the area at times of "extreme" pressure.

The document also reveals that the maternity unit, an "inappropriate" accident and emergency corridor and the dermatology outpatients area are also earmarked to take patients if there is a risk of 12-hour trolley waits or operations being cancelled for a second time.

Four patients waited for more than 12 hours in A&E in November and December last year.

The official policy document highlights the pressure faced by the capital's hospitals a week after complaints about the Whittington hospital in north London sparked a furious political row about the state of the NHS.

Patients' Association director Mike Stone said: "This is the most bizarre plan I have ever heard. I have never heard suggestions that patients should be put in the boardroom.

"The managers are doing the right thing in making contingency plans, but they really shouldn't have to, because there should be enough beds. The pressures they describe for putting these policies in place sound fairly normal for a busy London hospital."

The document categorises pressure for beds by level. Level-two status is described as a larger number of patients coming in for routine or emergency treatment than are being discharged, with the risk of routine surgery being cancelled.

Areas to be considered for housing emergency patients include day rooms and additional trolley space.

By level four, when there is a risk of trolley waits rising to 12 hours, the maternity unit, physiotherapy gym, A&E corridor and dermatology outpatient areas are all to be used. …

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