Mental health patients ‘waiting days’ in east London A&Es

An east London NHS trust boss has admitted some mental health patients are waiting days in its emergency departments.

Matthew Trainer, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), wrote earlier this month that on one day in October there were 15 patients aged between 13 and 62 waiting in its A&Es to be seen by mental health specialists.

The trust runs Queen’s Hospital in Romford and King George Hospital in Goodmayes.

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Mr Trainer said in his report to November’s BHRUT board meeting: “Five of them had been with us for more than two days and it took ten days to find the correct bed for one of these patients.”

In September, there were 28 patients with mental health emergencies who all waited more than 36 hours at the trust’s hospitals.

Romford Recorder: BHRUT chief executive Matthew TrainerBHRUT chief executive Matthew Trainer (Image: Ellie Hoskins)

He added: “Those with mental health needs are still waiting too long in our hospitals to be transferred to the right service that can care for them properly.”

The trust boss said it is working with local mental health trusts and councils to reduce delays in getting patients “the care they need”.

Its A&Es are also being adapted to offer separate, “calmer” environments for mental health patients who are waiting there, according to Mr Trainer.

Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge said there is an “unprecedented” crisis in mental health services and felt “desperate” patients are being forced to turn to “an already overburdened” A&E.

Jon Cruddas, Dagenham and Rainham MP, felt Mr Trainer’s report “illustrates in the starkest terms the pressures being faced by the NHS”.

He added: “We have the perfect storm in relation to mental health at the same time as the stresses and strains on people trying to make ends meet are mounting.”

Mr Trainer explained in his report that the trust is focusing on cutting A&E queues at Queen’s, which he said receives up to 100 ambulances a day.

So far this year, he said there has been a nine per cent increase in the number of those most seriously ill being admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

But the trust’s figures for September show it is still falling well below the NHS’s target for at least 95pc of all patients to spend no more than four hours in A&E.

Four-hour performance was 61.1pc at Queen’s and 56.25pc at King George.

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