An elderly Barnstaple man had to wait almost a day before being admitted to a ward after being rushed into hospital.

George Barrass, aged 93, was transferred from North Devon District Hospital on October 31 and sent to South Molton Hospital.

But his conditioned worsened and staff called an ambulance to rush him back to NDDH, where despite his condition being known he was taken to A and E.

His son John Barrass told the Gazette his father was taken into A and E at 10pm that evening and several hours later was taken to the MAU (Medical Assessment Unit) and was not admitted to a ward until 8pm the following day, some 22 hours.

Mr Barrass is angered at the delay in getting his father on to a ward but also believes he was discharged from hospital too soon.

On Sunday, November 3 Mr Barrass was called to the hospital because his father had come down with a chest infection and he said 'they did not know if he was going to pull through'.

At present his condition appears to be improving.

Mr Barrass told the Gazette: "I think they were so desperate to get him to the rehab unit for the beds, as they have closed all the community hospitals around the area.

"I am in the situation where I don't know what's going to happen to my father. They do a marvellous job at the hospital but the pressure they are under means it could kill people.

"When he left NDDH last week he said himself he did not feel that good, I don't think he was up to it. All this has made him worse, this should never have happened."

On Monday, November 4 the Gazette revealed NDDH was at its highest level of alert, with some operations postponed.

Darryn Allcorn, chief nurse at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "We are always sorry to hear concerns from relatives about the care their loved ones have received and we would like to apologise for any anxiety caused.

"Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, decisions about patient care are shared between patients and the clinical staff looking after them. Decisions are made based on clinical observations and clinical risk, and are always focused on the patient's best interests.

"We have seen very high numbers of very poorly patients coming into hospital over the past week and our services have been extremely busy.

"This may mean that some patients have been waiting longer than we would like in our Emergency Department, and we are sorry for this. We have been dealing with this increased pressure through our usual escalation plans.

"We are focusing as many of our staff as possible on treating our patients with the most urgent needs. Our staff have been doing an incredible job and I would like to thank them for their hard work, dedication and flexibility."