Patients will not be housed in cupboards

Two Norfolk hospitals have said they do not use cupboard-like “treatment rooms” to extend their capacity when patient numbers soar.The James Paget, at Gorleston, and Queen Elizabeth, at King's Lynn, said they had other measures in place to deal with times of high demand, such as putting extra beds in bays and using a newly-built ward.

Two Norfolk hospitals have said they do not use cupboard-like “treatment rooms” to extend their capacity when patient numbers soar.

The James Paget, at Gorleston, and Queen Elizabeth, at King's Lynn, said they had other measures in place to deal with times of high demand, such as putting extra beds in bays and using a newly-built

ward.

Their comments followed the recent reports of patients at the county's flagship Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) being moved into clinical treatment rooms - which they and their families have dismissed as little more than stock cupboards.

The rooms are lined with shelves stacked with hospital equipment, including dressings, catheters and “sharps” bins, and patients put there have complained of being disturbed during the night by staff coming in to collect supplies.

Yesterday, the two other

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major general hospitals in Norfolk both said they did not use -

or in one case even have - ward treatment rooms.

The Queen Elizabeth said it kept patients and hospital equipment completely separate.

Deputy chief executive and chief nurse Noel Scanlon said: “We only treat patients in designated ward areas or single-bed side rooms. Storage and equipment rooms are used for just that purpose.”

He added that the hospital

had opened a new �4.3m ward this week, providing an extra 27 beds to be used as and when they were needed.

The James Paget said it did not even have ward treatment rooms.

A spokesman said its “escalation plan” - measures brought in to cope with an unusual increase in demand - involved placing extra beds in ward bays.

The spokesman added: “Our beds are allocated to patients on a priority basis according to clinical need.

“This helps to ensure the timely flow of patients from admission through to discharge and reduces pressure on our capacity.”

Earlier this week, the N&N issued an apology to patients who had had to spend the night in its ward treatment

rooms.

Hospital chairman David Prior and chief executive Anna Dugdale conceded that putting people in the rooms was not acceptable and pledged to review the use of the rooms.

They said they would only be used in future when the alternative was cancelling important surgery.