November 11, 2021 5.56 pm

Lincoln actor calls for people to help city’s hospital after 14 hour wait for bed

Colin has praised NHS “angels” on social media

Lincoln actor Colin McFarlane has urged people to avoid going to Lincoln County Hospital unnecessarily after his mother waited an hour outside A&E and it took her 14 hours to get a bed.

Mr McFarlane, who is the voice of The Cube and has featured in Batman films, has been Tweeting his family’s experiences after his 92-year-old mum was taken to hospital by ambulance twice in just a few days.

Mrs McFarlane first visited hospital following concerns from her carers across November 7-8, and had to wait two hours in the ambulance before then facing another 12 hours to be placed in a bed.

She was discharged, but family and carers again called an ambulance on Tuesday morning when she spent an hour and a half in the vehicle ambulance and then waited 14 hours for a bed at 1.20am on Wednesday.

Colin has since called on people to take more care when deciding whether to visit the hospital, including not going if not necessary and wearing a mask outside of hospitals.

In a video message on Twitter he said: “Lincoln County Hospital at the moment is having an absolutely horrendous time, and if this is reflected across the country, then we as a nation are in trouble because they are overstretched, understaffed and obviously COVID is on the increase.”

He said he was told his mother could only have one visitor for one hour a day.

Speaking to Local Democracy Reporters, Colin said he had been told staff had “never seen it like this” and were “all concerned because they haven’t reached their winter peak”.

He sympathised with the situation staff faced, but said: “You can absolutely see how someone can die in that situation because of the stress, especially if they don’t understand what’s going on.”

He was also concerned at what impact the long waits had on patients, with his mother now having deep vein thrombosis in her leg – something she didn’t have when she was admitted – and the communication between patients’ families and NHS Staff.

He said he hadn’t been told initially when his mother was moved to another ward, despite being reassured he would be.

Since his initial tweets, Colin said he had a number of people tweet him their own experiences, including one who said she had waited six hours in the ambulance recently.

“If an ambulance is stood in the queue for that long, they’re not getting to emergencies,” he said.

Colin said in the current situation that more facilities were needed, including a potential private hospital which could take an overflow of patients if needed like other major cities in the UK.

He also used the opportunity called for more mask wearing to tackle increasing numbers of COVID patients at the hospital.

He said he was expected to wear a mask when working, and he saw them around the hospital – but once he stepped outside he saw very few people. He believes it should be mandated by the government and enforced and said NHS staff he had spoken to were “incredibly frustrated”.

“If we follow the rules, we have more freedom, if we don’t follow them we have less,” he said.

“If everyone wore masks we’d all be able to visit for longer… it’s impossible for them to enforce it at the moment.”

Hospital bosses earlier this week confirmed they were nearly at 100% capacity.

Meanwhile, latest figures have revealed ambulance handover delays and overcrowding at Lincolnshire A&E departments have reached breaking point with more than 70 patients waiting on trolleys for 12 hours in September.

However, Colin has praised the care his mum has received and has been tweeting out photos of the hard working staff to thank them.

He has even used the experience to call for “at least” a 15% pay rise for the staff, calling them “angels”.

“This situation makes me so angry because they’re not being paid despite going beyond the call of duty,” he said.

“You see them crazy hours, they’re exhausted.”

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