In the latest survey of Royal College of Nursing members, nurses report that patients are being placed on hospital trolleys for hours on end and treated in corridors not appropriate for care. Our survey of more than 1200 UK nurses and healthcare assistants working in acute settings raises worrying questions about the current ability of the UK’s hospitals to provide safe patient care. More than a fifth of nurses (21 percent) said that patients receiving care on corridors or areas not designated for patient care happened at least once a day, with four percent saying it happened hourly.
In emergency settings, the situation is even worse, with more than half of emergency department nurses (51 percent) reporting that patients receiving care on corridors or areas not for patient care happened daily. Nearly a fifth (18 percent) said they saw this happening hourly. Overall, nearly four in five nurses (79 percent) said patient
safety was being compromised by patients being kept in those areas.
Other key findings from the survey revealed serious concerns about the length of time patients are being forced to wait, the setting up of temporary wards, and how patients are treated, including:
- Nearly two in five nurses (39 percent) working in emergency departments see patients kept in ambulances or held in a queue outside of a department because of a lack of trolleys and beds on a daily basis. A total of 16 percent said this happens hourly;
- Half of nurses said they have encountered patients being cared for or being asked to await care on trolleys for long periods in the last six months, with an overall average wait on trolleys of six hours and forty minutes;
- Of those, almost five percent said patients had been forced to wait more than 24 hours;
- More than 40 percent of respondents (41 percent) said they witness patients moved to wards not suited to the patient’s condition on a daily basis;
- A third of nurses (33 percent) witness patients being moved every day for
non-clinical reasons, ie to meet targets.
Please note. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view poll information.