Cumberland Infirmary patients told to 'pretend you're camping'

Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle Image copyright Other
Image caption The hospital trust said under-pressure staff were trying to "lighten" very difficult working conditions

Patients on a crowded hospital ward were told to "pretend you're camping" by staff, a patient's family has said.

After waiting hours in Cumberland Infirmary the 73-year-old man was admitted to a ward and told to "make it an adventure", his daughter said.

A North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust spokeswoman said staff at the hospital were trying to lighten the atmosphere in a pressurised situation.

She added that the man's family had not complained about his treatment.

Currently hospitals around the UK are struggling to see patients in their A&E units within the four-hour target waiting time.

The patient's daughter, who did not wish to be named, said her diabetic father had developed pneumonia and waited 16 hours to get on to a ward at the Carlisle hospital.

'Tempers fraught'

She said: "I am shocked beyond words at what I have seen these last few days.

"The matron told patients: 'Make it an adventure - pretend you're camping."

The hospital trust spokeswoman said: "We are seeing a high number of very poorly people who do need to be admitted to hospital which is why we would urge people only to attend A&E if it is a serious, life-threatening emergency."

The patient's daughter said the family had no complaint about her father's treatment, but added: "People had been waiting so long in A&E, tempers were fraught.

"There were ambulances backed up outside the hospital with patients. I'd never seen anything so bad.

"My father's improving now, we can't complain about some things. I'm not having a go at staff, but it's just crazy, the situation in the NHS."

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