Maureen Wortley, 92, waited outside Lyell McEwin Hospital for two hours in cold

A 92-year-old woman was forced to sit outside a hospital for two hours in the cold because of a “substantial stuff-up” with Covid-19 testing.

A great-grandmother was forced to wait in the cold for two hours outside the hospital that she wanted to be admitted to.

Maureen Wortley, 92, sat outside the Lyell McEwin Hospital emergency department in Adelaide’s north at about 6.30pm on Sunday night in her dressing gown after she had a fall, her family said.

The elderly woman was driven to the facility by family members after they called for an ambulance and were advised they wouldn’t get one until 4am or 5am.

While Ms Wortley waited to be triaged, she was asked to undergo repeated Covid-19 tests before she was permitted to enter the hospital.

Ms Wortley’s daughter-in-law Lili Csongrady told ABC Radio that Ms Wortley was asked to sit on her walker outside the hospital.

“She wasn’t provided with a wheelchair or a blanket (and) asked to sit on her walker outside in 10 or 12 degrees,” Ms Csongrady said.

“She had already received her rapid test as soon as she arrived and then was left there to wait there for two hours.

“There were intern nurses that were then coming up not realising that she had a RAT done and then saying that she needed to have another one done multiple times.”

The family also said the hospital staff had access to heaters but the waiting patients did not.

Premier Peter Malinauskas dubbed the incident a “substantial stuff-up”.

“We saw someone not getting the sort of care that any Australian with a degree of compassion would want to see or certainly expect,” he said.

“We saw a person stuck outside the Lyell Mac because we haven’t seen the investments in health capacity that are required.”

The hospital established an external Covid screening tent once the pandemic began to prevent positive patients from spreading the virus to other patients.

The testing process should only take about 20 minutes.

“There was a little bit of miscommunication by a couple of the nurses in the external triage space and the staff that do the RAT tests so there was no considerable risk to anyone,”

Dr Penny Conor from SA Health’s Northern Adelaide Health Network said.

“I probably wouldn’t describe it as a substantial stuff-up, but yes, we could’ve done better.

“Again, I apologise unreservedly to the family.”

The hospital’s testing practise has since been reviewed and changes will be implemented – all patients will wear N95 masks, the Covid screening area will be moved inside and an extra triage nurse will be rostered on to help with the demand.

Dr Conor said the outdoor tents would only be used if capacity was reached inside, but better heating and seating would be provided in that scenario.

Originally published as ‘Substantial stuff-up’: 92yo woman left waiting outside hospital in cold