A WOMAN from Rhuddlan has told of her dismay at the length of time her 89-year-old mother had to wait for both an ambulance and in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd’s Emergency Department (ED).

Sue Logan said her mother, who the Journal/Pioneer have been asked not to name, fell on multiple occasions at her Rhos-on-Sea home on Sunday (October 1) but an ambulance did not arrive until 8.15am on Monday (October 2).

This was about 18-and-a-half hours after Sue had called the Welsh Ambulance Service, and a full day after her mother had initially done so.

Sue and her mother arrived at the Bodelwyddan hospital in an ambulance at about 10am on Monday morning.

Rhyl Journal: A family photo including Sue and her motherA family photo including Sue and her mother (Image: Sue Logan)


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Rhyl pensioner spends 32 hours waiting in A&E at Glan Clwyd Hospital

They stayed in the vehicle for 90 minutes and, when in ED, were forced to wait from 11.30am on the Monday until 4.30pm on the Tuesday.

Sue's mother was transferred to the hospital’s frailty unit and has since been discharged, but Sue said the entire ordeal felt like "torture in the end".

“The chairs in the ED waiting area are unsuitable for an 89-year-old woman who has fallen to sit in for nearly 48 hours," Sue said.

“Patients are expected to sit upright in a chair for days on end in bright lights, with no idea of when their ordeal will end.

“She was unable to lie down, and no-one administered medication. I used to work at the hospital and I just despair.

“One of the two toilets was out of order, with a sign saying: ‘since September 18’. You’d have thought that, by now, they would have fixed it.

Rhyl Journal: An out of use sign on one of the toilets at Glan ClwydAn out of use sign on one of the toilets at Glan Clwyd (Image: Sue Logan)

“There is nowhere to have a proper wash; if you expect people to sit there for days, you need to provide showers.

“We were by no means the only ones going through hell. To say I am cross is an understatement.”

Though Sue commended the efforts of Glan Clwyd’s “lovely” staff, she said the care her mother received while at the hospital was “unacceptable”.

She also said she had to ensure herself that her mother received her prescribed medication while in hospital.

Sue added: “The staff are lovely; how they do it, I don’t know. They must be so demoralised going home every day. It’s not the staff's fault, the system is just totally broken.

“It’s like torture in the end. It’s unacceptable. Elderly people need care, and yet there, they can’t even sleep.

“Nobody came to check if she’d had her medication – I had to give them to her – or if she’d had any pressure sores.

“I could see her deteriorating before my eyes, but there was nothing I could do about it.”

In response to the amount of time Sue’s mother waited for an ambulance, Stephen Sheldon, Welsh Ambulance Service's interim head of service in North Wales, offered an apology.

Mr Sheldon added that the public can help reduce strain on the service by only calling 999 in a serious or life-threatening emergency or, if safe to do so, find alternative transport to hospital.

NHS 111 Wales is also available 24/7 to give health advice and support.

Rhyl Journal: Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, BodelwyddanYsbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan (Image: Newsquest)

He said: “Significant pressure remains across urgent and emergency care, and as a result, some patients whose conditions are not immediately life-threatening may wait longer for our help.

“Unfortunately, this patient was one of those and we would like to extend our sincere apologies to her and her daughter for their experience.

“On October 1, our emergency ambulances spent more than 770 hours outside hospitals across Wales, over 350 of which were spent outside hospitals in North Wales.

“We continue to work with partners to mitigate the wider pressures faced within the health system, but unfortunately there is no quick fix.

“We would invite the patient or a representative to contact us directly so that we can investigate the situation and better understand her experience.”

Libby Ryan-Davies, integrated health community director for the central area of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: "I offer my sincere apologies to the patient and her daughter for their very long wait at the ED, and I urge them to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service directly so we can better understand their concerns and learn from their experience.

“At the time of her attendance, the ED was experiencing significant demand, resulting in much longer waiting times than we would like, despite the best efforts of our nursing and medical staff.

“Our improvement work at the ED has introduced new ways of delivering services, which are helping to improve the flow of patients through the hospital.

“However, ongoing challenges in discharging patients from hospital for onward care continue to impact on our ability to bring patients into and through the ED in a timely manner.

“We continue to work with our health and social care partners to address these challenges.”