CANCER and stroke patients were left on a freezing cold emergency overspill ward after Glasgow’s biggest hospital reached capacity.

The medical day care unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, which normally only operates from morning until 6pm, had to house an influx of people overnight for several nights as the base was stretched to breaking point.

A ward had to be created as a stop-off while medics waited for rooms elsewhere in the building to become free or worked to have patients treated and discharged.

At the same time, the QEUH’s acute receiving unit was also completely full as the pressures brought by earlier than expected seasonal demand caught hospital bosses off guard.

The troubled QEUH reception is currently subject to major refurbishment works as cladding is stripped off and replaced amid safety fears following the Grenfell tragedy.

An insider said: “The staff on the floor are doing their very best, but the place is in a state of chaos.

“It looks like a building site from the minute you walk through the main entrance, with scaffolding everywhere and folk going around in hard hats. That’s before you even get to the problems on the actual wards themselves.

“The hospital hit capacity last week and bosses had to try and bring in some contingency measures at the drop of a hat. People were waiting up to seven hours in A&E to be seen, there were no beds anywhere and this overspill ward was created in the day care unit on floor one as there was nowhere else for people to go who had to be kept in.

"There were people on trolleys in staff offices and corridors.

READ MORE: German Doner Kebab in Glasgow appeals decision to award sacked employee £13,000.

“Meanwhile the day care unit still had to perform its normal function during normal hours, with people coming in for angiograms and CT scans as normal."

The insider added: “The unit just isn’t designed for overnight stays and the staff were doing their best to cope, handing out extra blankets and the like, but patients were complaining about how cold it was. These were people with serious illnesses, people who had suffered strokes and others battling cancer, so it was far from ideal to have them on a cold ward with just curtains pulled around their beds.”

One cancer patient, who has asked to remain anonymous, told the Glasgow Times how they had spent several days and nights on the day care ward – which had no shower or proper washing facilities - after presenting at accident and emergency.

Glasgow Times: The QEUHThe QEUH (Image: Newsquest)

They said: “I felt for the staff, they were trying to keep people’s spirits up, but it was clear the hospital was at its very limit. I don’t know if there are problems within the building that meant rooms or wards were closed, but there just were no beds – and the situation is only going to get worse as winter bites.

“Everyone knows how hard the doctors and nurses are working, they are brilliant, but it is the executives and senior management who need to get a grip and make sure their medics have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.

“I’ve got cancer and suffer badly from neuropathy due to my chemotherapy treatment, so being on a cold ward all night was far from ideal. It was like a scene you would have expected to see in an NHS hospital from 30 years ago, not something at what is supposed to be a state-of-the-art facility and a flagship for the NHS."

A spokesperson for Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board admitted that they are struggling with seasonal pressures and apologised to those who had been affected.

They added: “Traditionally November, December and January are extremely busy months, but this year the pressure has begun to build earlier than expected and staff at all our sites are facing considerable challenges.

“We would like to apologise to anyone who has had to wait longer than they would have expected, or who has experienced any anxiety or discomfort as a result.

“All our staff are working extremely hard to address these challenges and we would like to thank them for their continuing professionalism and commitment. However, we would also appeal to members of the public to do what they can to help ease those pressures by thinking carefully about the best ways to access care.

“GP surgeries, pharmacies or opticians offer a range of care and prescribing services. If anyone thinks their condition is urgent, call NHS 24 on 111 and there they will receive expert advice about how best to get the care needed.

“We would still like to stress that anyone with a very urgent or life-threatening condition or injury should continue to call 999 or attend an emergency department as normal.”