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UK Hospitals Issue ‘Black Alerts’ Over Patient Demand

Medical Negligence Lawyers Call For Improved Care Facilities


A number of hospitals across the UK have issued ‘black alerts’ due rising demand for services as winter begins to take hold.

The alerts, the highest level of alert hospitals are able to issue, means they are unable to cope with the number of patients attending the hospital. Patients at the affected hospitals have been told to only attend A&E departments in emergencies.

Some hospitals are attempting to draft in extra staff to deal with the rising demand from patients and others have been forced to cancel non-emergency surgeries.

The Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Essex both issued a black alert.

In Norfolk, black alerts were declared at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich, and the James Paget Hospital.

Guy Forster, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office, said:

Expert Opinion
The demands and pressures on accident and emergency departments in Norfolk is well known and it is extremely concerning that so many hospitals in the area are struggling to cope with demand before the traditional peak period.

“Patient care should always be a top priority and it is crucial anyone requiring emergency treatment is able to access it at their local hospital. The declaration of black alerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Norfolk and Norwich, and the James Paget Hospital means there is the potential for care standards to fall and mistakes to occur in our region.

“In our work we have seen the significant impact delays in emergency treatment can have on patients and it is vital measures are implemented to ensure patient safety when A&E departments in the region come under such pressure.
Guy Forster, Partner

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