Hospitals running out of oxygen and mortuaries filling up with bodies while A&E patients wait up to 99hrs amid NHS chaos | The Sun

HOSPITALS are running out of oxygen and mortuaries filling up with bodies as chaos grips the NHS.

Patients have been left waiting up to 99 hours for a bed and record numbers are being left stranded in "grossly overcrowded" A&E departments.

The twindemic of flu and Covid has led to a shortage of life-saving portable oxygen and cancellations of appointments and operations are widespread.

There have been reports of issues with oxygen supply at hospital in Hull, Nottingham, Liverpool, Crewe, Derby and Durham.

One NHS worker from the South West told the Sunday Times: "We are now at the stage where there is not enough oxygen in cylinders to treat patients in corridors, ambulances and in our walk-in area in A&E.

"Combined with flu, Covid and other respiratory conditions this is beyond Third World medicine."


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Dozens of NHS trusts have declared critical incidents and some have even been forced to resort to measures used at height of the pandemic.

GPs in Surrey have reportedly been told that hospital mortuaries are nearing their limits.

Meanwhile staff at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership were told there was a "real possibility" that patients would have to be treated in "tents in hospital grounds", according to the report by the Sunday Times.

Waiting times for beds have reached extreme levels, with one patient at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire waiting 99 hours after being admitted.

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The patient was rushed to hospital as an emergency by ambulance, but remained on a trolley for more than four days before bed was freed up.

Another patient, in York, waited 40 hours for an A&E bed, while a third, this time in Shropshire, sat in an ambulance outside a hospital for 30 hours.

A little girl in Oxford wasn't even lucky enough to get a trolley.

Heidi, three, was forced to sleep on chairs after hours as she waited to be seen for her scarlet fever.

Her father, Tom Hook, posted a photo of her online with the caption: "Exhausted, dehydrated and fighting multiple illnesses, this is the best the NHS could do, five hours after arriving at A&E and 22 hours after we phoned for help."

He said that medics were doing the best they could in a "broken system" but "can't cope with demand".

One Twitter user posted a heartbreaking picture of her elderly fathers hand gripping the rail of a trolley on December 28 as he waited days for a bed.

In the caption, she fumed: "Second day of sitting in A&E with my Dad. Possibly another 3-4 days before a bed available on the medical ward.

"This system is well and truly broken and you know what? I’m frightened to leave him and go home to sleep"

One clinician at the Swindon hospital agreed, saying: "We’re broken and nobody is listening."

In a leaked email to staff, Jon Westbrook, Great Western's chief medical officer, said: "We are seeing case numbers and [sickness] that we have not seen previously in our clinical careers."

Almost 95% of NHS hospital beds in the UK are full, with more than 12,000 occupied by patients who are ready to be discharged.

Adrian Boyle, the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, called the situation "extremely serious".

He said: "Far too many people are simply stuck in our emergency departments at the moment.

"The predictable short-term shock of a bad flu season and the long-term consequences of inadequate capacity and workforce planning and investment are creating a perfect storm."

Chris Hopson, NHS England's chief strategy officer, said: "Over the past week to ten days we have seen flu levels increase significantly, alongside a high number of people with Covid.

"This simultaneous flu/Covid twindemic is currently taking up 13,000 of the NHS’s 95,000 hospital beds, towards the top end of our ‘most likely’ planning scenario."

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NHS England denied that there was a shortage of oxygen cylinders.

However, both they and BOC, the main supplier of oxygen to the NHS, admitted there had been a surge in demand.

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