Frustrated family describe 'horrible' experience after fruitless 13-hour A&E wait at Luton & Dunstable Hospital

'There were people there shouting at staff through the glass'

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 3:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 3:16 pm

A father-of-four has spoken of a "horrible" experience after he took his seriously ill wife to Luton & Dunstable A&E department last week.

The 44-year-old, who we agreed not to name, said he took his wife to A&E at 5.30pm last Wednesday (December 8) after she complained of severe abdominal pains from a pre-existing condition.

But they gave up after a 13-hour stretch, at 6.30am the next day after only seeing an emergency GP eight hours into their wait. The GP said his 41-year-old wife needed more tests but was unable to contact a surgical team. By the time they left, no further action had happened at the hospital.

Queues that have been seen recently at Luton and Dunstable Hospital’s A&E department (Photo: Oct 2021)

"It was a horrible, horrible experience," he said. "There was friction in the waiting room, with people in pain and arguments going on. The atmosphere in there was horrible.

"I have never experienced anything like it. There were people there shouting at staff through the glass."

He also saw a long line of ambulances outside the hospital, waiting to drop off patients.

"We had nothing from the staff," he said. "They just said they were very busy.

"One man had arrived at around the same time we did and was still there when we left.

" I fear this could end up being a life or death situation for a number of people if this is allowed to continue and something really needs to be done about it."

A week later his wife is still suffering but has been unable to see their own GP. After ringing 999 they were referred to the 111 NHS service which told them they would ring back and then didn't.

"We are relying on home remedies for her," he said. "She has been unable to work because of the pain."

Cathy Jones, Deputy Chief Executive at the Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are working closely with our partners in the NHS and social care to respond to the unprecedented demand for services. Both our emergency departments are very busy and patients with the most urgent clinical needs are being prioritised. This means that patients requiring less urgent treatment will wait longer.”

She added: “Please remember you can call 111 or use the online service day or night to get urgent health advice and support quickly, and closer to home.”

As the Government ploughs resources into accelerating the booster vaccination programme due to fears over the Omicron variant of Covid, the public has been warned that they are likely to have to wait longer than ever for NHS treatment.

What's your A&E experience been like if you've attended recently? Email [email protected]