A vulnerable man who was pictured lying on a hospital’s floor says he spent half a day in an Accident & Emergency area before finally being given a bed.
And Royston Wooley says he never wants to endure the same experience again after going 17 hours without food and asking repeatedly for a drink of water at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Mr Wooley, 41, of Ravensthorpe, saw his case raised in the House of Commons by Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin, who forced an apology from the then Health Minister Philip Dunne .
Mr Wooley says he was advised to get off the floor by nursing staff who threatened to have him removed by security personnel if he did not.
The scene, captured on camera by a shocked visitor, has caused controversy and raised concern over the state of local hospitals and the pressures faced by nursing staff.
Mr Wooley, who suffers from mental health issues and has an alcohol problem, called an ambulance to his home after overdosing on paracetamols late on New Year’s Day.
Wearing a onesie and dressing gown he was taken to Pinderfields where he was placed on a drip and left to sit in a chair.
But he chose to lie on the floor to stave off the risk of having a fit.
“There were no beds available, and I was so tired that I decided to lie on the floor,” he told the Examiner.
“I was in A&E for 12 hours, and I was on the floor for three hours until I heard someone complain.
“I think it was a combination of feeling concerned for me and being annoyed that I was there.
“Then one of the nurses came and said: ‘You have to get up. If you don’t we will have to get security to escort you out.’
“But there were beds available. People were being discharged or being put on wards.”
Mr Wooley said nurses and doctors working in A&E were “under-staffed, overrun and over-stretched,” adding: “It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”
He says he has previously been a patient at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, Calderdale Royal and Dewsbury Hospital, and does not understand why he was taken all the way to Wakefield.
“I have never had an experience like it. I went 17 hours without food. I asked for a sandwich but was given bread and butter, and the bread was mouldy. I showed it to a nurse and she was gobsmacked. It was hard work getting a glass of water. I had to keep asking and asking and asking.
“If Huddersfield Royal Infirmary is closed down I do not know how they will cope. People are going to die, because they are not coping at Pinderfields.”
He added: “I know it has got to the Commons because it was on TV. I saw Tracy the MP shouting. The other guy did apologise to her.”
Reacting to Mr Wooley’s experiences, Tracy Brabin attacked Prime Minister Theresa May for her lack of support for the NHS.
Speaking from Westminster immediately after Prime Minister’s Questions, she said: “This is the state of NHS hospitals. The most vulnerable are often the ones that use A&E.
“It’s deeply worrying that someone who has placed themselves on the floor because they are prone to fits are told that if they do not move someone will call security.
“What is unacceptable is the government’s response. When the Prime Minister is pushed on the issue she is just not listening.
“Theresa May has her fingers in her ears and her head in the sand.”