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Nine hour A&E wait for seriously ill man sparks probe
A PROBE has been launched after a seriously ill man who needed a leg amputation had to wait nine hours in Accident and Emergency at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Paul Ryan, 72, who suffered with peripheral vascular disease, then died three days later in an ambulance on the way to hospital, prompting Wycome MP Steve Baker to demand answers from NHS chiefs.
His widow, Lyn Ryan, from Widmer End, has blasted the system, saying A&E was overwhelmed and could not cope - though she believes he may have died anyway due to the severity of his condition.
Mrs Ryan went to the hospital with her husband on January 25 and was told by a nurse that he would probably need an operation that day to remove his remaining leg. His other leg was amputated seven years ago.
They eventually saw the surgical registrar at 9.30pm, after nine hours, who confirmed the operation was needed and advised an MRI scan be taken.
The couple were sent home and told they would be called on Monday and progress would be rapid, Mrs Ryan said.
But the call never came, and when Mrs Ryan rang the hospital they had no record. She called 999, with her husband's condition worsening significantly by this point. The GP arrived at their house after morning surgery and referred him to SM as an emergency. But then they faced a two hour wait for the ambulance.
She said: "We set off for Stoke Mandeville and the paramedics were fantastic but Paul - with me by his side, thank goodness - died in the ambulance.
"The outcome probably wouldn't have been any different, although I was distraught at losing him I felt the system let us down. I'm not saying that Paul died because of it, because it wasn't but the treatment was not good. The system is wrong, something has gone terribly wrong, to have these terribly long waits."
She had read earlier that day in the BFP Jim Tanner's account of a seven hour wait at A&E.
Mrs Ryan said: "It was like Piccadilly Circus at Stoke Mandeville on the Friday; people everywhere not being dealt with. The staff are fantastic but just cannot cope with the demand."
Wycombe MP Steve Baker told her in a letter: "I am sorry that the NHS has let you down like this. We simply cannot go on with these incidents of delay, misdirection, critically poor administration and failure of care. I am now stepping up pressure on NHS managers and the Bucks Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, who have provided altogether too little scrutiny and leadership in the circumstances. I am also taking legal advice on how prosecutions may be brought in the worst circumstances."
Scrutiny Committee chair Cllr Lin Hazell said: "I'm disappointed with his criticism."
Regarding, the changes that led to the Emergency Medical Centre at Wycombe being axed last year, she said: "We can only make decisions on the evidence provided.
With the financial pressures it was under it seemed like the only solution."
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is investigating and offered its condolences and apologies to Mrs Ryan and her family.
Statement from Neil Dardis, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive: "Our emergency services have been facing pressures typical to this time of year as we are treating a high number of very sick patients with winter related illnesses such as Norovirus and respiratory conditions.
"During this time we have seen an increase in the number of people attending our A&E department. We have been reminding people of other healthcare options available to them when they are unwell such as NHS Direct, local pharmacies and GP out of hours services. It is important that we continue to treat patients who are seriously or critically unwell as they need the services of a specialist A&E department.
"Development works to our A&E department at Stoke Mandeville Hospital are progressing well and a brand new refurbished resuscitation area was opened this week. Further new clinical space will be available by the end of the month as part of this development.
"At the end of 2012 we also opened a new cardiac and stroke receiving unit at Wycombe Hospital providing 24/7 specialist diagnosis and early treatment for patients who have a suspected cardiac or stroke condition. Patients arrive at the unit by ambulance or are referred by their GP. The unit is staffed by a specialist medical/nursing team who provide rapid assessment and investigation as soon as a patient arrives on the unit, which significantly enhances recovery for patients suffering from a cardiac or stroke episode."