19th Feb, 2020

Warwick Hospital consultant signs letter to Prime Minister about state of urgent care

Laura Kearns 17th Jan, 2018

A CONSULTANT at Warwick Hospital was among those who warned Theresa May patients were dying in hospital corridors because the NHS was so short-staffed and under-funded.

Chris Hetherington, who is Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at the Lakin Road hospital, was among some 60 doctors who signed the letter telling the Prime Minister about ‘serious concerns for patient safety’.

The letter was signed by consultants representing the hospitals they work at.

Warwick Hospital has seen high numbers of patients since Christmas Eve, with chief executive Glen Burley saying the pressures on urgent care were the worst he had seen in his 11 years in charge.

Some operations were even cancelled to allow consultants to work in the busy A&E department.

The letter from consultants to Mrs May read: “We feel compelled to speak out in support of our hardworking and dedicated nursing, medical and allied head professional colleagues and for the very serious concerns we have for the safety of our patients.

“This current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable, despite the best efforts of staff.”

Doctors urged the Prime Minister to ‘significantly’ increase social care funding so patients could be discharged to be cared for in the community.

They also want more beds made available and an increase in the number of doctors and nurses.

The letter continued: “We would like to apologise to our patients for being unable to fulfil our pledge for a safe and efficient service and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff.”

But a spokeswoman from the Department of Health and Social Care said improvements had been made.

She said: “There has been a 68.7 per cent increase in the number of A&E consultants since 2010, and the NHS was given top priority in the recent budget with an extra £2.8billion allocated over the next two years.

“But we know there is a great deal of pressure in A&E departments, and we are grateful to all NHS staff for their incredible work in challenging circumstances. That’s why we recently announced the largest single increase in doctor training places in the history of the NHS – a 25 per cent expansion.”

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