Published: 09:30, 05 January 2018
Footage has revealed the scale of the crisis facing hospitals as patients are left waiting in ambulances and stuck in beds in corridors.
Alisha Owen captured the scenes at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, where staff are battling to cope with patient demand.
The recording follows an apology by Prime Minister Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who announced all non-emergency operations were to be cancelled in January to help ease the pressure.
Ms Owen said: “This is a post from the William Harvey Hospital. We took a friend there and it was five hours before he got a brain scan after he suffered a major fit and had hit his head.
“I am so sad our hospitals are now like this. There was at one point no room in the corridors they kept people in the ambulance please share and make our government aware.”
Her video, which includes the still image here, shows patients on beds lining the corridors of the hospital. It also highlights the knock-on effect on paramedics, who are forced to keep emergency patients waiting in ambulances until hospitals can take them in.
The video has since gone viral online, and has been viewed more than 20,000 times on social media.
Last weekend, the ambulance service urged patients not to call 999 unless it was a life-threatening or serious emergency, as they responded to calls every 20 seconds over the new year.
Bed occupancy rates at hospitals across Kent were all above 90% between Christmas and New Year. The recommended limit from NHS England is 85%.
The East Kent NHS Trust (EKHUFT) has already taken the decision to suspend non-urgent operations over the festive period.
Interim chief executive Susan Acott said: “It’s been a tough start to the year across the NHS, with continued high demand upon emergency services.
“But I have seen great teamwork in our hospitals, flexibility between sites and huge efforts and success in getting patients out of hospital and back home for Christmas and the New Year.
“Because the most critically ill patients are seen first, some people spend longer than we would like before being admitted to a ward or discharged, throughout this time everyone is committed to providing the best care possible for our patients.”
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