A 97-year-old RAF veteran faced 10 hours in the back of an ambulance before spending two days in an A&E corridor, a coroner’s report has revealed.
Philip Hawkins, from Ryhl, died at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Wales on March 23, 2023, after a fall at his home.
While his death was ruled an accident, the coroner highlighted 11 points of concern related to his care.
Mr Hawkins came to the hospital via ambulance at 1.25pm on March 18, and he remained in the vehicle until 11.42pm. From there, he was moved to the corridor of the Emergency Department.
It was only two days later, at 7.17pm on March 20, that Mr Hawkins was allocated a bed.
David Pojur, assistant coroner for North Wales East and Central, said there had been no space in the department for a nurse to assess or treat Mr Hawkins.
This meant that his repeat bloods were not done and his visitors were not told he was “nil-by-mouth” so they had fed him.
The coroner said that he was “concerned” by the wait the 97-year-old had to endure to enter the hospital and to be provided with a bed.
He also cited concerns with the “inability of staff to tend to him”, the lack of available staff, and the lack of written record of assessment and treatment.
Liam Williams, Executive Director of Quality & Nursing, at the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust told the Express: “Our deepest sympathies remain with Mr Hawkin’s friends and family.
“We have received the Preventing Future Deaths report from the coroner and are formulating our response.”
Mr Williams added: “The significant pressures we have responded to across our service, particularly in transferring the care of patients from our ambulance crews to hospitals, and releasing our people to respond to outstanding community incidents is well documented.”
He added that they are continuing to work closely with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and other partners to ensure their crews are released at the earliest opportunity.
Following Mr Hawkins’ death, there have been calls for Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, to resign.
David Jones, Conservative MP and former Welsh Secretary, said: “This is further proof, if it were needed, of the abject failure of the Welsh government to provide a decent standard of healthcare across the North.”
He added that the health board is “in special measures” and faces accusations of “serious financial mismanagement”.
Mr Jones also claimed that the ambulance service is “clearly broken”.
The MP said: “Nobody ever takes responsibility for this. It’s clear who should.”
Mr Jones continued: “It is Mark Drakeford, who has presided over this appalling situation. If he had a shred of decency, he would resign immediately.”
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been contacted for comment.
This is not the first time the Glan Clwyd Hospital’s Emergency Department has come under scrutiny in recent months.
In March 2023, a third inspection failed to find any major improvements in the department.
Just a month before, the health board was placed back in special measures following an audit report, and 11 independent board members were told to resign by the Welsh government.
The inspection was undertaken in November 2022 by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, following previous visits in March and May of that year. Inspectors said there had been minimal improvements since their two previous visits to the emergency department.
The report said the “incredibly busy department” was struggling with shortages of staff, high numbers of seriously unwell patients, and a “lack of space to treat them”.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said there were still “very, very serious problems” at the department.
Meanwhile, Betsi Cadwaladr health board stated that progress needed to “accelerate”.