The 22-year-old patient, who asked not to be named, said she “may as well have been in pain in bed at home” rather than wait at NHS’ Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, north Wales, on Friday night. So she left the emergency department, which was filled with patients, including many tourists.
Health bosses have apologised for the woman’s distressing ordeal.
But the patient was unhappy with the “ridiculous” and “hectic” scenes she witnessed.
Speaking to North Wales Live, she said: “There were about 50 people in the waiting room. I got there at 8pm on Friday. I ended up leaving at 11.30am the next morning because I hadn’t been seen.
“At about 1am (early Saturday) a nurse had come out to the waiting room and said it was going to be a 17-hour wait – minimum – to see a doctor. And there was only one doctor on duty. So everyone got upset and there was a bit of a mutiny where a load of people walked out. I just thought it was ridiculous.
“If I was going to be in pain I’d rather be in pain in my own bed. I’ve got meds at home that I take for my symptoms.”
“There were people sleeping on the chairs, on the floor. There was one girl, she looked 18 or 19. She had an IV (intravenous drip) in her arm and she was just sat on the floor in the waiting room. It was hectic.
“There were a lot of tourists in there as well. They were coming to reception, being told it’s a 17-hour wait, turning round and going back out, saying they would go to their GP back home.”
The woman, who has a heart condition, gets nasty migraines, feels dizzy and loses her balance. She rang NHS Direct on Friday and they advised her to go for a scan so she went to the hospital.
But she saw drunk patients during the busy Friday night shift.
“There were police there, there were people who were drunk shouting things,” the patient said.
“The NHS does an amazing job. I want to bring attention to how they’re struggling. Hopefully someone with the powers that be will do something about it.”
“I don’t necessarily blame the staff because obviously they are really overworked and it’s not their fault. Personally, I just blame the lack of attention to the hospital.”
“I’m originally from South Wales and maybe it’s different funding in North Wales.”
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said it was sorry to hear about the experience and said it was busy at weekends despite the “best efforts” of staff. It comes off the back of calls that were made for an “urgent improvement” at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd following a second damning report.
Dr Nick Lyons, Executive Medical Director at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are very sorry to hear one of our patients is unhappy with the care they received and we would encourage them to contact us directly with any concerns.
“Our Emergency Departments were extremely busy over the weekend, resulting in longer waiting times, despite the best efforts of our nursing and medical staff.
“We urge the public to help. Patients who do not need full emergency hospital treatment may find that they can get appropriate advice and care from other NHS services, including minor injuries and local pharmacies. Please visit the BCUHB website if you are unsure where to go.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said hospital funding was based on population and needs.
“We cannot comment on individual cases. Our expectation is that all patients to access care in Emergency Departments are triaged, assessed and treated in order of clinical priority, and in a timely manner. Health Boards are funded through an allocation formula that takes account of the population and needs of the area.”