Today, nurses are planning to announce a “national emergency”, highlighting the grave reality that NHS patients are facing life-threatening conditions due to inadequate facilities, often forced to endure treatment in hospital corridors.

In an alarming revelation, over one third of nursing staff in Scottish hospitals reported having to administer care to patients in improper locations, including corridors and storage cupboards. This distressing situation is concentrated around a severe lack of bed space, and has seen patients placed in these unsuitable areas for extended periods of time.

Furthermore, over half of these same nurses revealed that such a setting left them without access to crucial, life-saving equipment, including oxygen.

The current medical crisis will be the focal point of conversation at The Royal College of Nursing’s conference held in Wales.

RCN Scotland executive director, Colin Poolman, made a poignant comment on the issue. He said: “Patients deserve better than to have their care compromised by receiving treatment in such inappropriate surroundings. It is equally unacceptable for our dedicated nursing staff to have their professionalism and commitment to providing top-notch care undermined by a situation that we shouldn’t be adjusting to, but fighting against.”

A recent, distressing report showed that of the 1400 Scottish frontline staff surveyed, seven in 10 felt that the care they provided compromised patient privacy and dignity.

One nurse revealed: “We often receive patients who are critically ill, stressed, agitated, or delirious, needing close monitoring. These individuals are usually placed in the centre of our wards, and we are expected to provide care without the necessary requisites.”

An employee shared: “Every one of our ward’s four bays (including the treatment room) have had extra beds for four years now. Despite being told regularly that they are ‘closing’, the beds often reopen just half a shift later.”

The report culminated in a clarion call, titled ‘Corridor Care: unsafe, undignified, unacceptable’, demanding an immediate end to the use of corridors for patient care.

Today, the acting general secretary of RCN Congress in Newport, Professor Nicola Ranger, will open the meeting with these words: “Our once renowned services are being reduced to treating patients in car parks and storage cupboards. The elderly are being forced to wait on chairs for endless hours while other patients are dying in corridors. The appalling circumstances of this situation cannot be underestimated.”

Only last December, it was reported that patients in corridors at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow were provided wireless doorbells to summon help.

Scottish Labour Health spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said the report “exposes the extent of the chaos consuming Scotland’s NHS”.

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