NHS Trust Declares "Black Alert"

Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Overwhelmed By Pressure On Services


The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust has declared a "black alert" today, following overwhelming pressure on its services.

A black alert is the highest level alert possible. In this instance is applies to the entirety of the health and social care system in Cornwall and is expected to last between 12 and 24 hours.

The trust covers three hospitals: St Michael's in Hayle, The Royal Cornwall in Treliske and West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance.

Services are currently "extremely busy", experiencing difficulties admitting and discharging patients. Some are having to stay on trolleys for up to eight hours as they wait for beds.

Some staff leave has been cancelled to deal with demand. Patients have been advised to avoid using A&E unless the situation is urgent, with hospital chiefs directing the public to the NHS 111 service.

A trust spokesman said of the crisis: "We need to have better routes out of the hospital so patients can get to their own homes.

"We've really got to think about choices we make about healthcare. We've stepped up efforts and working very closely with partners but we need to simplify systems between health and social care."

St Ives MP Liberal Democrat Andrew George said: "The further west you go the more precarious the situation. There is no other A&E service that those in the far west can go to.

"When emergency services like this are closed, blue light ambulances cannot take patients to the north, west or south, there is only a very long and potentially life-threatening journey to the east if the front doors at Treliske are shut."

Expert Opinion
It is very worrying to see yet another NHS trust faced with serious pressures as a result of demand for their services. The absolute priority in all of these cases is that the safety and welfare of patients is not undermined as a result of the issues being seen.

"Any patients attending hospital expect and deserve to have access to high quality care, so it is vital that everything possible is done to handle the increased demand. Following that, attention must then turn to investigating what can be done to prevent similar issues from emerging again in the future."
Lisa Jordan, Partner