URGENT calls for more beds and larger wards at the Great Western Hospital intensified after staff issued an alert about patients expecting longer waiting times to the A&E because it was extremely busy.

And it isn’t just Wednesday when patients faced long delays. The Adver has been told of numerous cases of patients left on trolleys for hours. Now hospital bosses have apologised but there are calls for the GWH to expand to have extra capacity.

David Pearce, 70, suffered heart problems and had to wait 18 hours on a trolley in A&E with other patients until a bed was free.

David said: "It's not the first time this has happened but it is the longest I've been left, it's gone downhill. It was like a cattle market. I don't blame the nurses because they're under a lot of pressure but patients should not be treated like that."

His daughter Claire Newbold said: “It was appalling. He shared a bay with another patient that had only a screen between them for privacy and he had another trolley at his feet, there was no dignity.

“He’s in and out of hospital all the time with heart failure but he’s reluctant to go back in because he doesn’t want to be left on a trolley again.

“He’d rather stay at home unless he’s really bad. This is putting a toll on my family, especially my mum who’s worried about it all.

“He was on a monitor but the staff were so busy that we had to tell them if he had chest pains or dropping blood pressure. It was so jammed that I had no idea how they would’ve got to him if he’d needed CPR.

“The staff were under a lot of pressure and as a result the care my dad needed just wasn’t there. He went in at 6pm on September 26 and didn’t get a bed until after11am the next morning.

“I didn’t want to leave him but a nurse on the night shift assured me they would keep an eye on him.

“Other patients slept on their trollies overnight, it was awful. They desperately need a bigger A&E with more beds and more staff.”

Similar experiences came from other patients who sympathised with staff but stressed the need for more space.

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Darryl Duncan said: “I feel for the staff. They’re excellent at what they do but it’s extremely busy, it’s not fair. This town is too big for the facilities.

“I was there 23 hours but I was well looked after given the staff were running around with high demand. Those people need looking after and given a reward for the work they do and the abuse they get on a daily basis."

Maria Phillips told the Adver: “The staff are brilliant but they have people in corridors on trolleys a lot of the time and these are not time wasters, these are people that need to be admitted.”

Fiona Carter said: “My 87-year-old mother fell at home and was taken in by ambulance. Thirteen hours on a trolley in A&E is not acceptable. It really is time to sort it out.”

Julie Young said: “We definitely need more beds and more staff. There is more housing going up but no extra doctor surgeries and no extra doctors for the hospital or surgeries but many more people living in Swindon and an ageing population.

“We need more services, along with parking for the hospital so people can get to their appointments on time.”

The spike in demand seen on Wednesday evening has since eased.

A GWH spokeswoman said: “This week, we have been particularly busy and we would like to say a big thank you to all our staff who work extremely hard to provide safe and high quality care.

“We‘re sorry for the long waits that some of our patients experience. Patients are seen in order of clinical need, so when we’re very busy some patients will be waiting longer than we would like. This is while staff are caring for our most critical patients.”