Tenerife hospital at capacity with no beds or stretchers available

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 28-12-2023
  • Tenerife
  • Photo Credit: El Dia
Tenerife hospital at capacity with no beds or stretchers available

A “state of collapse” has officially been declared in the emergency department of the HUC Hospital in Tenerife. The rise in cases of COVID-19 and influenza A has heightened saturation in the hospital’s emergency department where patients are being left in corridors on ambulance stretchers and medical staff are overwhelmed.

Ambulance workers responsible for managing patient transfers to the HUC report that they are having to wait for several hours at the emergency entrance until hospital beds are freed up to get their stretchers back so that they can carry out another service, instead of the 15 minutes stipulated in the protocol.

As explained by José Arbelo, president of the Tasisa Norte employee committee, employees are working up to 30 extra hours beyond their regular hours due to the standstill. "Our rights are being violated. We have to work marathon shifts," he protested.

He also stated that it can take up to 30 hours from the request for an ambulance until the patient is attended to, considering the waiting time for the arrival of the emergency vehicle, as well as the time for a bed to become available and then subsequent care.

Ambulance stretchers are not designed for lengthy use

"These are neither sanitary nor humane conditions for ill people and workers," he added, while explaining that ambulance stretchers are not designed for patients to remain on them for an extended period. "They are not made for morbidly obese individuals or those taller than 1.80 metres. If a patient has a fracture, being on a vacuum mattress could worsen the situation."

Moreover, other emergencies are going unattended, as of the 8 to 10 ambulances operating in the northern part of Tenerife, nearly 80% get stuck for hours at the HUC, leaving only two others available to tend to emergencies.

Medical professionals are urgently seeking a solution to address the increase in Covid and Flu infections and, consequently, hospitalisations expected in January and February.