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Hospital wait criticised by Tory peer

4th May 2011

Senior Tory peer Baroness Sharples has revealed how she had to wait for almost five hours on a trolley before a bed was found for her at a London hospital.

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The 88-year-old’s account of her experiences at London’s St Thomas’ hospital came as the government was questioned on its decision to scrap the four-hour target for maximum waits in accident and emergency units.

Lady Sharples, who has been a member of the House of Lords since 1973, was taken to hospital after collapsing because she had been “overdoing it” after a knee replacement.

She said: “The ambulance came in five minutes but I was in hospital on a trolley from 7.45pm to 12.30am. I was in a bay in accident and emergency waiting for them to find a bed.”

The peer said she could find no fault with the nurses but was not seen by a doctor until she was in a bed.

Lady Sharples, who did not reveal she was a member of the Lords, was released the following day after tests.

In response to Lady Sharples’ experience, health minister Earl Howe expressed his concern that she had to spend so much time waiting on trolley.

Answering suggestions from Labour’s Baroness McDonagh that A&E waiting times were rising sharply he said that the proportion of patients waiting for less than four hours during the four weeks up to 24 April 2011, was 96.7% compared to 98.3% in April 2010.

Lord Howe said the A&E target had been replaced by clinical quality indicators incorporating measures of timeliness.

 

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