CREDIT: DAVID ROSE/ DAVID ROSE
On Christmas Day last year, Brian Thomas* walked into A&E at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. He was a bit groggy but his wife, Jackie, wasn’t really concerned. She knew he’d been out late at the pub the night before, and thought he was just hungover.
Waiting for them was a hospital operating on what is traditionally the most poorly-staffed day of the year. With rotas filled by inexperienced nurses and junior doctors, it’s known even within the NHS as the worst time to get sick.
The triage nurse began to take Brian’s vital signs. According to Sian Coggle, Consultant in Acute Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Addenbrooke’s, in many hospitals he might well have been parked on a seat.