Two patients have died in the same A&E department at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester. Both patients were on trolleys.
New figures show the NHS is coming under increasing pressure due to government cuts of its budget.
It is believed that one patient died from an aneurysm in a resuscitation bay, while another man suffered a cardiac arrest. It is believed he had been waiting 35 hours for a hospital bed.
A&E Departments were forced to close their doors to patients more than 140 times in December due to lack of bed space.
During Christmas week, there were 143 A&E diverts across England. For the same period in 2015, there were 83.
Worcestershire Acute hospitals NHS Trust confirmed that investigations into the deaths of the man and woman were ongoing.
NHS England guidelines say that diverting patients should be a last resort:
“Diversion of patients as a result of lack of physical or staff capacity to deal with attendances or admissions should be an action of last resort and should be agreed with neighbouring trusts.
“Robust network-wide escalation planning together with trusts’ own internal planning should mean that any increase in activity can be managed internally, by for example diverting staff from elsewhere in the hospital.
“Therefore, diversion of patients for respite reasons should only need to happen in exceptional circumstances, where internal measures have not succeeded in tackling the underlying problem.”
Dr Taj Hassan president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said, “The emergency care system is on its knees, despite the huge efforts of staff who are struggling to cope with the intense demands being put upon them.
“Internal major incidents are being declared in many systems around the country – every hospital in Essex has been on ‘black alert’ – and staff in emergency departments are working at and beyond their capabilities. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“The scale of the crisis affecting emergency care systems has reached new heights, as we predicted, mainly due to a lack of investment in both social and acute healthcare beds, as well as emergency department staffing.”