HEALTH bosses admitted a mental health patient was left waiting for a bed in the Royal Blackburn Hospital’s emergency department for almost three days.

The man’s plight was revealed by the leader of Lancashire County Council’s Labour group Azhar Ali.

A Freedom of Information Request by the party’s health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth on so-called ‘trolley waits’ where patients spend more than 12 hours before admission to hospital wards revealed 2,770 cases nationwide in 2017 compared to 129 in 2011.

It also detailed the top ten admission delays across England for October 2016 to October 2017 in which the East Lancashire Hospital Trust came second with a wait of 70 hours and 22 minutes for one patient because of a ‘lack of mental health beds’.

The worst was at the Derby Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust of 145 hours and 11 minutes for a patient ‘waiting for a mental health bed outside the organisation’.

The hospitals trust and the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which took over the treatment of the Royal Blackburn patient, have apologised to the individual and his family.

It is understood the patient presented at A&E and was looked after in a private cubicle while the two trusts looked to find him a dedicated mental health bed.

Sources said the patient was never actually on a trolley or in a public area and was seen by A&E staff within fours hours and spent the rest of the time in in the cubicle, which was free at the time, while the care trust sought a suitable bed.

The patient was fed, helped to the toilet, had the opportunity to sleep and ‘kept as comfortable as possible’ during the long wait the Lancashire Telegraph understands.

Nelson East’s County Councillor Ali said: “ We have amazing staff in East Lancashire working tirelessly to provide a safe service but how can they cope when there aren’t enough hospital beds and in particular a lack of mental health beds anywhere in the country.

“The Conservatives government’s savage cuts to the NHS are now showing reinforcing many people’s experiences of people waiting on trolleys for hours on end hoping to get a bed.”

A joint statement from East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to assure the public that when patients requiring mental health treatment arrive in the emergency department, our two organisations work hand in hand to ensure the patient receives the best possible care as soon as possible.

“Although patient confidentiality prevents us from commenting on the specifics of this case, both organisations have issued a sincere apology to the patient and their family for their long wait in the emergency department at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital.

“In this particular case, the patient was initially treated by East Lancashire Hospitals’ emergency department staff before being transferred to the care of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist mental health staff.

“Emergency department patients who require treatment by specialist mental health staff are cared for in an environment that best suits their needs where they are looked after and their needs met until suitable mental health accommodation becomes available.

“Lancashire Care Trust is working to further develop options as alternatives to A&E departments for people in mental health crisis to support them more effectively and reduce overall system pressures in emergency departments.”

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “The Government’s endless squeeze on NHS funding has caused misery for patients and their families.

“There has been a massive rise in 12 hour trolley waits and now we hear of people stuck on trolleys for nearly a week at a time.

“These are staggering numbers and we have to remember that every one represents a patient languishing in a hospital corridor because this government simply hasn’t provided the NHS with the resources it needs.