Exclusive: Move would be first in NHS history, as internal documents seen by the Guardian show junior staff often left in charge of casualty unit.
An A&E unit has been threatened with closure on safety grounds for the first time in the NHS’s history, amid fears that its 500 patients a day are at what the medical regulator calls “serious risk” of suffering harm. The General Medical Council, which regulates doctors, and Health Education England, the NHS’s staffing agency, have both issued the unprecedented warnings to North Middlesex hospital over what one local MP described as “a catalogue of failings” in its emergency department.
Unpublished internal confidential NHS documents seen by the Guardian reveal widespread alarm in the NHS locally and nationally that some of the hospital’s A&E doctors lack the basic skills to do their jobs, and that young, inexperienced doctors have been asked to perform tasks they were not qualified to undertake.
There are also occasions on which, despite their lack of experience, “junior staff [are] being left in charge of the [emergency] department, highlighting a probable risk to patients”, a private meeting of NHS chiefs was told last month. There is also serious concern that just two of the 26 junior doctors in training in the A&E have ever worked in an emergency department before and that care in the unit overnight is described as “an area of significant risk” to patient safety.
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Ambulances outside A&E at North Middlesex hospital.
Filed under: Hospital, A&E, NHS, North Middlesex Hospital
North Middlesex Hospital put a message over a Tannoy advising people to go home unless they had a life-threatening illness
Stricken NHS patients were left waiting for up to SEVEN HOURS on hospital trolleys leaving medics with no option but to say: “Go home if you’re not dying.” In a disturbing new low for our over-stretched health service, the Sunday People can reveal a hospital put a message over a Tannoy advising people to go home.
Patients were told: “We would ask anyone who doesn’t have a life-threatening illness to go home and come back in the morning.” The extraordinary situation unfolded at the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, north London on Friday night.
Tonight a spokesman for the hospital confirmed they had to issue the mayday alert because 450 casualties arrived during one shift. One eyewitness who saw the chaos unfold said he witnessed more than 100 people in the waiting room. He said at one point there were a dozen patients on trolleys lining the wall along the department because all cubicles full.
Many had been waiting on trolleys for several hours. At 11pm a message went on the tannoy saying that the wait to see a doctor was eight hours for adults and six hours in children’s A&E, leading to disbelief among those there.
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Go home: There were seven-hour delays in the A&E department at North Middlesex Hospital
Filed under: Uncategorized, A&E, go home, North Middlesex Hospital