The death of a man who fell over in A&E after he was taken there to be looked after while his wife was in hospital has sparked serious concerns over care shortages.

Joseph Maunick, a retired teacher from Diss, died after suffering a serious head injury following the fall at the emergency department of the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Maunick - who was known as Will - had been admitted as a "last resort" for supervision while his wife underwent an emergency operation.

The former teacher, who was 84 and spoke multiple languages, required round-the-clock care due to being at very high risk of falls. 

Diss Mercury: Suffolk assistant coroner Peter TaheriSuffolk assistant coroner Peter Taheri (Image: Newsquest)

But when his wife - his full-time carer - was admitted to hospital for her surgery, no alternative placement could be found for him, despite Norfolk County Council contacting eight different providers.

An inquest into his death was told that after "exhaustive" efforts to find him temporary care, he was instead admitted to A&E as a "social admission".

But with the department facing substantial demand, staff were unable to keep up with the level of care Mr Maunick needed.

In a report, assistant coroner for Suffolk Peter Taheri said this had likely contributed to Mr Maunick's death - also questioning how appropriate the department was for his needs.

He wrote: "The inquest received undisputed evidence that the environment of a busy, noisy emergency department, with lights on at all hours of the day and night would be overly stimulating and not the most suitable environment for someone with cognitive impairment who was experiencing confusion and agitation.

"If it had been possible to transfer Will to a more suitable environment sooner then on the balance of probabilities the fall that led directly to his passing would have been prevented and his life would have been prolonged."

In his report, which was sent to the health secretary Steve Barclay and NHS England, Mr Taheri warned more people could die without increasing resources in both areas.

Mr Maunick died on March 15 last year, with his inquest concluding on April 18.