'What I learned from my 12 days at overcrowded N&N'

Ben Olive, inset, has described his experience while being treated in hospital

Ben Olive, inset, has described his experience while being treated in hospital - Credit: Ben Olive

A teacher who spent a fortnight in hospital has described the "eye-opening" experience of being the seventh patient on a six-bed ward. 

Ben Olive was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on July 16 - exactly three weeks before his wedding day - with a form of pneumonia.

It emerged that the 33-year-old, from Brundall, was in need of surgery to help drain fluid from his chest and he ended up spending 12 days in total at the hospital.

He had no complaints at all with the care he was given, describing the hospital as "an amazing place"  - but said the experience had given him new perspective on the challenges the NHS is still facing.

In a Twitter thread written from his hospital bed he said: "I'm currently squeezed in the corner of a six bed room because an extra bed has been added.

Teacher ben Olive, who spent two weeks in hospital

Teacher ben Olive, who spent two weeks in hospital - Credit: Archant

"Dangle my right foot out and I touch the window. Dangle my left and I'd hit the temporary screen that has been put up so the guy next to me can have some vague semblance of privacy as he washes.

"They have, resourcefully, managed to part cover the other side of the guy with a curtain. But it's half across his bed because it's designed to go neatly round when all the beds are in the correct position and, well, they've been forced to make do.

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"The worst thing though is that this has been the norm for most of the time I've been here. Patients squeezed in, extra care needed, but no extra staff.

"It is really worth adding that the staff, on the whole, have been superb. Resilient and patient and determined in really trying circumstances

"The staff are absolutely not the problem here, I can not stress that enough.

"It is also not the system. Every day I am amazed at all the moving parts that work together."

But he said the experience had shown him that the NHS is in desperate need of extra support from central government.

He said; "You can have the fanciest car and the greatest driver, but if you jam it with too many people, don't fill it with enough petrol and tell it to drive from London to Edinburgh in five hours, it just won't work."