Patients in desperate need of surgery are being turned away, ambulances carrying patients are being forced to park and wait outside and hundreds are enduring many hours waiting for care as Croydon University Hospital has struggled to cope with demand this winter.

Health watchdog Care Quality Commission identified Croydon Health Services NHS Trust as one of five at the highest risk rating – needing an inspection as a priority.

Last week the trust announced an internal major incident as it dealt with increased demand.

Numerous readers have contacted the newspaper about the problems they have encountered.

Rowan Griffen faces six weeks of agony, holding in his small intestine while he waits for a hernia operation cancelled after extreme delays in accident and emergency (A&E) last week.

The 40-year-old was admitted in agony and originally deemed an emergency case, but he was sent home and reassured he would be operated on at the start of last week.

He is still waiting for a date and has been told it is likely to be six weeks away.

Mr Griffen, of Long Lane, Addiscombe, said: “The advice by the consultant was if you need to get around and do anything then I need to hold my small intestine in with my hand which is very painful.

“It just does not fill me with any kind of confidence with the hospital.

“I will have to go into major surgery and I will be looking at organ damage if things do not improve soon.

“[There is a] complete breakdown in communication at the hospital.

“When my surgery had been cancelled the nurses still thought it was going on and I had to say it’s not the case.”

No figures have been released about how many people had operations cancelled or postponed because of the problems with A&E last week.

Figures released by the Department of Health (DoH) show that during the period of November 3 to January 4 there were five urgent operations cancelled and 12 elective operations cancelled.

No urgent operations were cancelled two or more times.

During the same period there were 172 times when a patient waited in an ambulance for more than 30 minutes before being transferred into hospital care.

Also 9 per cent of patients visiting A&E spent more than four hours there before either being discharged, transferred or admitted.

Mr Griffen has been dealing with the hospital complaints manager about the case.

He said: “They said they were very concerned about the pain and I would be looking at six weeks.

“I cannot do anything and life has completely come to a stop.

“It makes me feel tossed aside like they don’t care.

“They said I will receive a letter in the post in the next few weeks.

“I don’t know what kind of hospital that they are running, but if they were running a business it would fail.

“The hospital is in an absolute mess.”

A spokesman for the trust said: “We always do our best to see our patients as quickly as possible.

"Our specialists have seen Mr Griffen to explain his diagnosis and agree the right treatment with him.”

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