A patient at King’s College Hospital waited nearly two days on a trolley due to a shortage of specialist beds, it was revealed last week.
The patient had to stay in the hospital’s casualty department for 45 hours and 50 minutes due to a delay in finding a bed in a specialist psychiatric unit elsewhere.
Figures obtained by the Labour Party show that it was one of fifteen cases between April and June in which patients were kept on trolleys for more than twelve hours – all of which were mental health patients being delayed because of bed shortages in other hospitals.
Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, called the situation “unacceptable”.
“People are waiting too long for ambulances, too long in A&E and even too long to see a GP as the NHS continues to suffer,” he said.
“Six years of reorganisation and cuts dressed up as ‘efficiency savings’ are impacting terribly on the care people receive.”
A spokesperson for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Regrettably, patients who spend the longest time in our Emergency Department tend to be those with serious mental health problems who require transfer to a specialist bed in a psychiatric hospital.
“Demand for mental health beds unfortunately exceeds capacity in London, and it can take prolonged periods for an appropriate bed to become available.
“All patients with mental health needs who come to our Emergency Department are cared for by specialist teams, including psychiatric colleagues, to ensure they receive appropriate care in a safe environment.”