Patients being told they might have to wait for up to 13 hours to see a doctor in an overcrowded A&E department is “not what anyone wants to see”, the Health Secretary has said.
Sajid Javid was played a clip of a nurse speaking to the crowd of people in Harlow A&E, run by Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust in Essex.
The nurse was filmed addressing people waiting in the department on Monday evening, saying: “We’ve currently got 170 patients in the department, there are 90 patients waiting to be seen at the moment.
“Our current wait time for a doctor is seven and a half hours.
“I will estimate by the time I go home in the morning at 8 o‘clock some of you will still be here waiting for a doctor because the waits will get up to 12 or 13 hours.
“There are currently no beds in the trust. We’re trying to make more space if we can but if people are admitted there’s a chance they’ll stay in A&E overnight.
“We will do our best to make you comfortable, we will do our best to look after you, but please don’t expect you will be going direct to a ward because that might not happen.”
She also asked relatives to leave due to space constraints.
Mr Javid said the NHS is seeing “very high levels of demand” in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After listening to the clip on BBC Breakfast, Mr Javid said: “Of course that’s not a thing that anyone wants to see.”
The video has been seen over a million times.