The children of a frail 99-year-old woman have voiced their anger after she spent a night on a trolley in the A&E department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Eileen Gower and John Jackson are also upset that their mother, Florence Jackson, had to wait nearly five hours for an ambulance to take her to hospital.
Mrs Gower said: “I am just so angry that the system allows this disrespect to the elderly. It shouldn’t happen.”
Mrs Jackson is a resident of the Lisbon Court housing-with-care complex in Galyon Road, Gaywood. On Monday, she was unwell and was seen by her GP, who advised she should go to hospital.
Mrs Gower, 67, of Clifford Burman Close, Gaywood, said the doctor arranged for Mrs Jackson to be admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit at QEH. An ambulance was expected to arrive to transport her at 6.30pm.
The ambulance did not arrive until 11.10pm and when Mrs Gower phoned QEH at 7am on Tuesday, she was told Mrs Jackson was still in A&E.
Mrs Gower said: “She had been on a trolley all night.” Mrs Jackson was moved to the MAU at 8.30am and later to Terrington Ward, where her condition improved.
Mrs Gower said she could not fault staff at the hospital but criticised administrative failings including changes to the GP out-of-hours service.
Mr Jackson, 71, of Brockley Green, Fairstead, Lynn, said: “My mother shouldn’t have been left on a trolley all night. It’s a bad state of affairs.”
David Stonehouse, Director of Resources at QEH, said admission to the MAU was dependent on the availability of beds.
He said: “Unfortunately, when Mrs Jackson arrived we were experiencing a peak in demand and there were no beds immediately available.
“So she remained in the emergency department. While there, she was well cared-for, receiving nursing attention and fluids. She was also offered food, which she declined.
“We recognise that an A&E department is not ideal for a stay of this length and we are truly sorry that this happened. As soon as a bed became available on the MAU, Mrs Jackson was transferred.
“We have since spoken to her daughter and apologised and we are willing to meet the family and discuss their concerns in more detail.”
A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “An ambulance was dispatched as close as possible to the pick-up time. However, it got diverted by a 999 call to a life-threatening emergency involving a pregnant woman.
“We have several different categories for our calls and emergency calls take priority over pre-arranged non-emergency hospital admission journeys. A phone call was made to the care home to apologise for the delay, to reassure the family that an ambulance would be dispatched as soon as possible, and to give advice as to what they should if the patient’s condition worsened.
“We appreciate the concern shown by the relatives and the patient, but we wish to assure them that an ambulance was sent as soon as possible.”