Stoke-on-Trent residents today spoke of their fears as the city’s walk-in centres bear the brunt of rising hospital waiting times.
Latest figures show 35,000 patients have waited four hours or longer for treatment at Royal Stoke University Hospital in the past year.
Government guidelines say 95 per cent of emergency patients should be treated or admitted to a bed within four hours.
Yet Royal Stoke managed just 65 per cent with the hospital only hitting 61.9% in November.
Now it’s feared there will be a knock-on effect on local ‘walk-in’ centres like Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre.
This currently has a waiting time of one hour, but some residents told StaffsLive this was not good enough.
Ann Gratton, 77, from Clayton, Newcastle, said: “It’s ridiculous.
“We need to stop the people that are wasting time in the walk in centres.
“One lady was up there when I was there because she’d actually turned her ankle falling off her high heel shoes!
“There was nothing wrong with her, nothing was broken.
“People like that are forming the queues and taking it off everyone else.
“So, get rid of the people and it’ll be fine.”
Another patient, who did not want to be named, said: “They are very understaffed and overworked.
“I have been going to the hospital for a long time now, over 30 years, and I can see they have run them down.
“They just haven’t got the staff and that’s what’s making the queues so bad.
“The nurses are working 12 to 14 hour days and they’ve got homes to go to like everybody else. It’s not fair.
“Last time I went to Accident and Emergency, there were 12 ambulances waiting in a line to go in.
“There just isn’t the room for all these people to be seen, and there aren’t enough staff to see them.”
Royal Stoke currently has 32,693 patients waiting for treatment and 3,818 patients were left waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment last year.
However, some people feel they are pleased with the service.
Mr Shaw, 66, from Alsager, said: “My wife’s got a broken pelvis so we are going to NHS of course.
“We’ve found it excellent and had no problems at all.
“The fracture clinic that we go to has been good, we are very happy with the staff and everything about NHS. I’ve got no complaints.”
Trish Thompson, locality director for NHS England (North Midlands), said: “Over this winter, the NHS has experienced higher than expected numbers of patients accessing NHS services, which has caused pressures on some parts of our system.
“However, it is really important to recognise that staff in all our services are continuing to manage this demand and are working hard to maintain the quality of care that patients expect and deserve.”
(Additional reporting by Libby Lovell)