A 91-year-old man had to sit in pain in a hospital emergency department for almost 11 hours through the night before being seen by a doctor due to increased pressure on hospital staff.

Wrexham Maelor Hospital said the changes in which patients are care for due to the coronavirus pandemic combined with increased demand over the Bank Holiday Weekend led to longer waiting times - increased pressures that are still being felt this week.

The son of the 91-year-old man said staff at the hospital were fantastic - but the ordeal suffered by his father, exacerbated by his vision, hearing and mobility issues, was heartbreaking.

The 49-year-old explained that, living in Buckley, he faced the choice of taking his father to the Countess of Chester or Wrexham Maelor after phoning the out of hours doctor service.

He wasn't, he says, given advice as to which might have the shorter waiting time.

Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

He said: "We arrived at 6.15pm on Monday, in the end it was 11 hours to see a doctor. Until then it was just him sitting next to the entrance which gets increasingly cooler through the night. He was getting increasingly uncomfortable as, sitting in a wheelchair, he had nowhere to rest his head.

"For somebody that age to be awake 24 hours straight is a big ask, especially when he hasn't had much sleep for the last few nights due to being in pain.

"The people that run the floor are doing their best and for any money in the world I wouldn't want their jobs - I have total respect for all of them - and when we got to see staff they were brilliant without exception. But there is obviously some kind of problem in the system. On arrival we were told there was a minimum seven hour wait, which could go up depending on ambulances bringing in emergencies. But my dad was getting more and more stressed during the night, which would be unnecessary if there were more personnel on duty.

He added: "I do feel there must be a critical management problem, with A&E giving a minimum eight hour this evening, to a patient in his 90s, in quite severe pain, with a problem needing urgent treatment, as we were told by a doctor, who sent us to A&E in the first place."

"Whilst I appreciate that we as 'customers' do not see the issues and incidents that staff have to deal with behind the scenes as it were, it is still quite upsetting to see a patient of older years - or any patient - being made to feel neglected due to what appears to be staff shortage and poor management."

The Maelor is still experiencing heavy pressure and is urging the public to check whether the Emergency Department is the best option for them before attending.

Ian Donnelly, Acute Site Director of Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: “I am very sorry to hear of this patients' wait in our Emergency Department, unfortunately bank holiday weekend was exceptionally busy for our Emergency Department causing longer waiting times than usual despite the best efforts of our nursing and medical staff.

“We have a triage process that makes sure that patients are cared for on a clinical need basis and we have systems in place to ensure that our patients are cared for appropriately even when we are exceptionally busy, and our capacity is still constrained given the changes we have had to make to the way we care for patients as a result of COVID-19."

Mr Donnelly added: “The Emergency Department is still experiencing increased pressures, please could the public check where the best place to access care is before attending Emergency Department to not delay someone who seriously needs our care. Other NHS services are available from minor injuries units, local pharmacists or call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 if you're unsure of where to go."