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SICK OAP, 92, LEFT ON TROLLEY FOR 10hrs; Fury over bed shortage crisis.

Byline: CAITLIN MACKAY

PATIENTS are being forced to spend hours lying in agony on casualty trolleys due to a shortage of hospital beds.

One 92-year-old with a back injury was left on a trolley in a corridor at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for ten hours.

And last month 166 patients attending the Royal Infirmary, Western Infirmary and Stobhill in Glasgow suffered on trolleys for more than eight hours.

The North Glasgow University Trust, which runs the hospitals, admitted that three patients were left on trolleys right through the night.

Pensioner Helen Munroe was left on a trolley overnight after the Western Infirmary ran out of beds.

The 79-year-old, who was suffering from pneumonia, had to wait nine hours for a bed.

Emergency departments are now regularly forced to refuse all but the most urgent cases because of the national crisis.

A top Glasgow doctor claimed emergency services were "close to meltdown".

Last night opposition politicians said the crisis had been caused by the gradual reduction in the number of hospital beds.

SNP shadow health minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "This proves there is a real undercapacity in the health service, particularly in accident and emergency.

"The Scottish Executive should not allow any more acute beds to close."

A spokeswoman for the Glasgow Trust said it regretted the lengthy waits.

She added: "Medical receiving across the city is under review."

The Victoria Infirmary and Southern General hospitals, which serve the southside, said 19 patients had to wait on a trolley for more than eight hours.

And on 10 of the last 30 days, one of two the casualty units has been closed to emergency patients.

In Lanarkshire, A&E services are provided at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, Wishaw and Monklands Hospital, Airdrie. But six times last month one of the units had to close.

CAPTION(S):

CLOSURES: Nicola Sturgeon
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 27, 2003
Words:306
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