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Summary

  1. Live from Ipswich Hospital's A&E on 16 March 2017
  2. Four-hour accident and emergency waits rise 300% at some hospitals
  3. Hospital saw 245 people during the 24 hours
  4. 'Staff are like my friends,' says patient, 90

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

That's it for our live updates

After a marathon 24-hour stint, our updates have come to an end.

A huge thank you to everyone at Ipswich Hospital - staff and patients - for making us so welcome and for giving us their honest accounts about what life is like in the NHS in 2017.

Please scroll back down to the page to catch up on all the stories we've brought you as the day unfolded.

We're going to leave you with a video we've made summing up the events of Thursday, 16 March 2017.

Thank you for joining us.

Ipswich Hospital: Visitor views of A&E in a word

#AandElive: The final countdown

Jodie Halford

BBC News

The last few hours here at Ipswich Hospital have seen a flurry of patients through the door - 45 of them since 20:00, to be precise.

Thirty-nine people are still in the A&E department and there's a wait time for three and a half hours at the moment because of the recent influx.

Waiting room
BBC

Since we started our live page at midnight, 245 people have come through the doors for treatment.

A&E in a word: 'Excellent'

Jodie Halford

BBC News

James Martin, who had put his tooth through his lip in an accident during a basketball game, has been treated and has been sent home from the hospital with his mum Philippa.

Before they left, we asked them for their A&E in a word suggestion:

Philippa and James Martin
BBC

'We would never compromise patient care'

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Sally Knight has been working as an advanced clinical practitioner at Ipswich Hospital's emergency department for the last three years.

Her "innovative" role - created as the result of a trial in the Midlands a few years ago - sees her treat adults and children, major cases and minors, across all areas of the department. "Anything and everything," she says.

Sally Knight
BBC

Sally says it has been a less busy night than they'd usually expect in majors, but was really busy in paediatrics.

"We do think about the four-hour standard," she said. "If we don't strive for that then there are patients who will have discomfort, physically or mentally, because they are waiting.

"But it's about finding a balance. We would never compromise patient care to meet the standard."

Blue butterfly system explained

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Earlier on today, pictures of blue butterflies were placed in locations around the emergency department's "majors" section.

The hospital uses them as a system to let paramedics, nurses, doctors and other visitors to the area know there's recently been a death in the department.

Blue butterfly
BBC

"We had the butterflies in place earlier when one of our patients in the department died," said Adam Ransome, assistant lead nurse.

"It's really used for us just to say, 'this has happened, be respectful' to those coming into the department who will be unaware of what's happened and that people will be grieving.

"We keep them in place until the patient has been moved on to the mortuary."

Forget 10,000 steps a day. Try 24,000 in seven hours.

Jodie Halford

BBC News

In our time at Ipswich Hospital, the team and I have managed to walk quite a long way as we've circled the emergency department chatting to people.

But our exercise efforts have got nothing on Jackson Underwood, who works as a technician and a porter.

Phone
BBC

"Since 15:00, I've walked 10.45 miles (16.8km) - that's 24,000 steps," he told me

"When I work as a porter elsewhere in the hospital, I have to wear steel toe capped boots. But you could never wear steelies in this job - even in normal shoes, it's difficult on your feet."

Jackson Underwood
BBC

Jackson also gave us his A&E in a word - we're going to forgive him for actually using two words because he's probably tired from all that walking.

The last 24 hours in the life of Ipswich's accident and emergency department

Toddler with a temperature brought in to A&E

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Two-year-old Esmae has been brought in by her mum and dad, Melissa Clarke and Thomas Plant. 

"Esmae's had a temperature since last night, and she hasn't been drinking either," Ms Clarke told me. "At one point it hit 40 so we thought we'd better bring her in."

Melissa Clarke and Thomas Plant, with Esmae
BBC

"You expect a wait when you come to A&E, don't you? Esmae has tonsillitis last year and the same thing happened," Ms Clarke added.

Basketball accident prompts A&E visit for mum and son

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Fifteen-year-old James Martin, from Woodbridge, came into the paediatric emergency department at 20:00 after he was hurt during a basketball game.

"Someone shouldered me and my tooth went through my lip," he said.

Philippa and James Martin
BBC

"I've done the same thing before - once at go-karting, and once at hockey. But this is the first time I'm come to A&E for it."

His mum Philippa, 48, said their experience of the hospital had been "excellent" - though she had brought a flask of coffee in anticipation of a fairly long wait ahead.

School pupil comes in after hurting foot in PE lesson

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Katie Ratliff, 12, and her dad Stephen, 42, have been in the paediatric waiting room since 18:15.

Yesterday at school, Katie - who's in year seven - slipped on some mats in a PE lesson and crushed her foot on the floor.

Katie and Stephen Ratliff
BBC

"I've been struggling to walk on my foot - it really hurts. A nurse has checked me over but we're waiting to see someone else now," Katie said.

Her dad Stephen said other people had been waiting much longer than them. "There's so many people whizzing backwards and forwards around us that it makes you feel dizzy. It's so busy here tonight."

'There's a different way of looking after child patients'

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Rhyan Zambrano has worked at Ipswich Hospital as a nurse for 13 years, the last five of which have been spent in the paediatric A&E unit.

"There's a different way of looking after child patients," he said. "You're not just looking after them; often you're looking after their parents, too, who can get very distressed."

Rhyan Zambrano
BBC

He told me it's been a really busy night in the department so far, with two resuscitation cases brought in by ambulance which were "red phone" calls (meaning they needed urgent attention once they arrived in hospital).

He said he believed the four-hour waiting target was "achieveable". "There are certain cases where it's unavoidable that it takes a bit longer because a patient has a certain condition," he said. "Or sometimes they're about to be sent home, but there might be a last minute change in their observations so we keep them in. We're often more cautious here than with the adults."

School report: What do young people think of the NHS?

While we've been reporting live from Ipswich Hospital's accident and emergency department, a group of schoolchildren have been working with our newsroom colleagues to make a film about the NHS.

Here's what they think of it...

View more on facebook

The latest numbers...

Adam Ransome, the assistant lead nurse, has just been into our makeshift office with a scribbled note showing the latest numbers on admissions to the accident and emergency department.

Adam Ransome
BBC

Right now there are...

  • 56 people in the department
  • Two people are in the resuscitation area
  • Three are in the "majors" section
  • Five ambulances are en route with more patients
  • 17 people are in the pediatric department
  • 11 are waiting to see an emergency nurse practitioner

And all that means there's still a two-hour wait to see a doctor, with a three-hour wait for the emergency nurse practitioners.

Rob, 18, facing a wait for news on arm injury

Among those in the waiting room is 18-year-old Rob Taylor, who's with his father, John.

He was injured during a school hockey match earlier.

"I don't know if I've broken my arm," he said. "I can't rotate it."

He's been waiting to be seen since 17:45.

"We expected to wait," said John. "It's usually busy here."

Rob Taylor and John Taylor
BBC

'Right now we're in limbo'

Jodie Halford

BBC News

Paul Allison's 69-year-old dad Geoffrey is in one of the bays in the emergency department. He was brought in with chest pains - but had only been discharged from hospital yesterday after having been brought in with a possible cardiac arrest.

Geoffrey went to his GP a couple of days ago and was immediately sent to A&E, where he evenutally had tests and a brain scan as it was thought he may have had a mini-stroke.

Paul Allison
BBC

"He was initially supposed to have a scan when he was here yesterday, but an emergency came in and they couldn't fit him in, so he was given an outpatient appointment," Mr Allison said of his father.

"This afternoon he started having the pains again. It's not good enough. If he'd had a scan and further treatment before, perhaps he wouldn't be here now. We would have had peace of mind, but right now we're in limbo."

Current wait time in A&E at 90 minutes

Jodie Halford

BBC News

I've been to the front desk of the "majors" section of A&E here at Ipswich Hospital, where staff are about 10 minutes away from handing over to the night shift.

I've been told from 18:15 to 19:15, 13 patients were admitted to the emergency department, and 22 were admitted in the hour before that.

In total, there are currently 51 patients in A&E as a whole, with an hour and a half's wait to be seen.

Waiting room
BBC

It's getting busy here...

Mark Bulstrode

BBC News

We're entering the final few hours of our 24-hour live page... and we're now in what's probably going to be the busiest period.

The waiting room is fast filling up and it's just been treated to BBC Look East's report on our activities here today.

Waiting room
BBC

Laurence Cawley and Richard Haugh have signed off for the day and Jodie Halford and I will guide you through from now until midnight.

Stick with us, we have no idea what's going to happen next.

BBC Look East
BBC

Catching up with this morning's patient

Jodie Halford

BBC News

You might remember we were speaking earlier to John Ward, who arrived in hospital at 10:00 this morning.

He'd suffered a number of falls and was being checked over by staff in a bay in Ipswich Hospital's A&E unit.

John Ward
BBC

Since then, he's been taken to the surgical assessment unit where he'll stay overnight while staff do further examinations to find out how he is.

"They've told me I might go home tomorrow or the day after. They're trying to make sure I'll be alright when I get home."

A&E in a word...

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

During the day, we have been asking patients and staff to summarise their experience of accident and emergency in a single word.

Here are the latest 'words'.

in a word
BBC
in a word
BBC
in a word
BBC
in a word
BBC
in a word
BBC
in a word
BBC

Olive, once a ballroom dancer, is about to go home

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

At the start of the day we met a lovely couple in their 90s called Olive and Ken Davies from Ipswich. 

Olive Davies
BBC

Olive arrived at A&E at about 06:30 suffering with chest pains. She has previously had a double hart bypass, so chest pains for her are potentially an emergency situation.

After being seen at A&E she was transferred to the medical assessment unit for a series of tests. We're pleased to say she has been thoroughly checked over and her pacemaker is working properly. 

Staff have decided to alter her medication in the hope that will help. Olive, 90, says she is now feeling much better.

"I am so grateful for all they have done," said Olive. "The staff here are like friends."

Olive, once a competitive ballroom dancer, and husband Ken, 92, a former Army physical training instructor and veteran of the Normandy landings, are poised to leave for home very shortly.

The headlines at 18:00

Bong...

  • Since midnight, 162 patients have been seen at A&E
  • The current wait to see a nurse is 12 minutes
  • But you'll have to wait two hours and 20 minutes to see a doctor

'Heartbeat': the word the chief exec uses to describe A&E

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

We've asked Ipswich Hospital's chief executive Nick Hulme to share his A&E in a word.

His response was 'heartbeat'. Here's why.

View more on twitter

Putting on a professional face

'I have my bad days... but I love my job and wouldn't change it for the world'

Richard Haugh

BBC News

I can't imagine it's easy to write a job description for a nurse. The role seems to require them being capable of dealing with all walks of life, and coping with witnessing the rawest of human emotions.

At 22, and just a month into her life as a qualified nurse, Polly Ransome is finding out how demanding the job can be.

Polly Ransome
BBC

"I'm constantly learning," she said.

Polly's tasks today include checking patients' "vital signs", making cups of tea and ensuring people "feel comfortable".

She's upbeat, but admits that's not always the case.

"You've caught me on a good day," she said. "I have my bad days and need my stress relievers, but I love it and wouldn't change it for the world.

"I have my relatives that are like 'pick yourself up, you're meant for this'.

"When the world treats you a bit bad you should treat everyone a bit kinder and then you'll be happy."

'It's getting busy'

Richard Haugh

BBC News

The A&E department is noticeably busier than it was earlier, and the latest figures back this up:

  • There are 45 patients currently being treated
  • All three beds in the resuscitation area are occupied
  • There have been five 'red telephone calls' since midday
  • These have been for a mixture of reasons, including a stroke and sepsis
  • Patients are having to wait 12 minutes to be assessed, and two hours and 20 minutes before they see a doctor

Matron Tash Tuck says staff can cope with the current level of demand, but I get the impression a sudden influx of more patients would make things tricky.

A&E in a word: Crucial and unexpected

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

We asked the A&E department's Red Cross volunteers to share what single word they would use to describe accident and emergency.

Wendy's word was "crucial" and Robin's was "unexpected".

Robin's word
BBC
Wendy's word
BBC

'I was kidding myself it was just a bruise'

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Earlier today we met Eileen Elmer, who was in after a fall during recovery from a mini stroke.

Eileen Elmer
BBC

When I last saw her she was waiting for an x-ray having fallen earlier near her bed at home in Foxhall. She broke her landing with her wrist. She was pretty sure she had only bruised it.

Sadly, her x-ray shows otherwise. She has broken her radius (wrist) and will have to have it set in plaster tomorrow. 

As I spoke to her, Eileen was close to tears. The reason she is so upset is that, after her mini stroke, she had been working so hard to restore the movement in her left hand and arm. She feels all that work has now been undone.

Eileen's hand
BBC

And initially she wasn't even going to seek medical help.

"I didn't really want to be a bother," she said. "I just thought I had strained it or bruised it because I could still move my fingers. I was kidding myself. I did not realise it was broken."

The quiet heroes of A&E

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Ask anybody here at A&E who are the unsung heroes on the ward and they'll probably mention the Red Cross team.

Today, we have Robin and Wendy who walk the ward asking patients and visitors whether they need anything. It might be a cup of tea that's desired, sometimes it is an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. People like Robyn and Wendy give up their days to comfort others in need on a voluntary basis.

View more on twitter

Watch: A look around A&E

It's been a busy day at Ipswich Hospital, but things were considerably quieter in the wee small hours of the morning... which made it the perfect time to have a quick tour.

This is how things looked at about 02:00.

An early morning tour of Ipswich Hospital's A&E

Smoking continues, despite ban

Richard Haugh

BBC News

Earlier this month the shelters outside A&E designed to accommodate smokers were removed, with the hospital imposing a site-wide ban on smoking.

But speaking to one of the cleaners, Scott, who didn't want to be pictured, it's clear that not everyone is taking notice of the new rule.

Bag of rubbish including cigarette butts
BBC

As he swept away dozens of butts, he told me: "It's made a bit of a difference but people continue to smoke.

"They see us clearing up but it doesn't make a difference."

In the space of five minutes I saw two people smoking outside the entrance to A&E.

A few metres away a family were hugging each other, all of them in tears. None of them were smoking, but one of the arguments against the ban was that people need any comfort they can take at traumatic times.

"You've got to respect people's views," Scott said.

'I don't mean to criticise... but it's a bit slow'

Richard Haugh

BBC News

This is Matthew Davies and his friend Jack Vincent, who Matthew jokingly calls "his carer".

Matthew Davies and Jack Vincent
BBC

Matthew (left) was admitted to the hospital on Monday after feeling pain in his abdomen - he's hoping to go home later today.

"It's a bit slow," Matthew, 22, said of the care he's received. "I've been told things and then nothing happens. 

"They seem too busy with some patients to be bothered about you. You've got to nag them.

"But they're good. I don't mean to criticise them."

This is like Gogglebox

Staff on their lunch have just had the surreal experience of seeing themselves and their colleagues on the lunchtime edition of Look East.

"Next up on BBC One... Doctors". (With this, the TV is turned over immediately)

Staff at Ipswich Hospital watching Look East
BBC

A ward beckons for Mr Ward

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

You'll have to forgive the pun - it has come from the patient himself.

John Ward arrived at A&E shortly before 10:00 because he was feeling very unwell following a series of falls.

John Ward
BBC

He is still waiting to find out exactly what might be wrong and what his treatment might be. He is being transferred to the hospital's Brantham Ward, which includes an emergency assessment unit. Once there he will be given blood.

He has agreed to let us visit him up on the ward a little later.

'I will eat through anything'

So we have temporarily set up a new base in the staff tea room while the pig trotter stitching class is carried out in our previous home.

You may be interested to know what hospital staff eat for lunch. Well, as you'd probably expect, there's plenty of healthy food being eaten including a rice dish, fruit, sandwiches and pasta.

However, for a little while there was also a huge sponge cake in the centre of the table (now disappeared) and a plate full of scones.

As for the conversation over lunch, well it's included talk of "sputum" - which I've learned comes in different guises, as well as birthdays and time sheets.

The nurse to my right, Cat, explained: "I will eat through anything."

remnants of the cake
BBC

Meet Eileen, who had a fall while recovering from a stroke

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

We have just meet Eileen Elmer of Foxhall, who came into A&E after landing on her wrist following an unexpected fall.

Eileen says she is recovering from a mini stroke a few weeks ago.

"I just lost my balance," said Eileen. "It was very painful and my hand feels tender and sore."

Eileen Elmer
BBC

Eileen is now awaiting the results of her x-ray. We will be popping back to see in her in a little while to find out how she is getting on.

'Your views matter'

Richard Haugh

BBC News

There's something odd about being asked whether you'd recommend Ipswich Hospital's A&E service to your friends and family... but that's what happens here:

Your view matter customer feedback
BBC

Two computers are in the waiting room and there was an iPad, but that recently "went missing".

"We aim for a 20% rate in feedback from patients", said matron Tash Tuck, adding that staff also hand out cards to patients.

The "temperature check" is designed to encourage visitors to be open and honest with their feedback, positive or negative.

The biggest gripe, Tash says, is when people feel like they don't know how long they'll have to wait, or what's happening.

An update on waiting times

A quick update from matron Tash Tuck on the numbers...

  • Seventy-four patients have been seen at the A&E department in Ipswich Hospital since midnight
  • Thirty patients are currently being treated
  • There's a five-minute wait to be seen by a nurse
  • And a 49-minute wait to see a doctor

The red phone has rung

The aforementioned red phone has just rung, with staff being alerted to a road crash.

We're hearing an ambulance is on its way to the hospital.

A&E staff pause for a minute to say a fond farewell

Laurence Cawley

BBC News

Those who have followed A&E Live so far will have met matron Tash Tuck already. 

What you may not have known is that today is her last day at Ipswich Hospital after a sixth month secondment from neighbouring Colchester Hospital.

Associate director of nursing Rebecca Pulford said she hoped Tash would come back one day soon.

View more on twitter

Meet the frail patient nurse specialist

Richard Haugh

BBC News