Cornwall’s only major hospital declares ‘internal critical incident’ as A&E department faces unprecedented demand with 25 ambulances regularly queueing outside
- Cornwall’s only major hospital has declared an ‘internal critical incident’
- Around 100 people were waiting to be seen by Royal Cornwall’s A&E department
- Up to 25 ambulances are regularly seen queueing outside, the hospital trust said
- Critical incident allows health and care organisations to focus on resolving crisis
Cornwall’s only major hospital has declared an ‘internal critical incident’ as its emergency department faces unprecedented demand with 25 ambulances regularly queueing outside.
A critical incident allows all health and care organisations to work together and focus on resolving the situation.
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust reported up to 100 people were waiting to be seen by the Royal Cornwall’s A&E department on Wednesday, with two dozen ambulances waiting outside.
The situation at the hospital in Truro, which serves all of Cornwall, has been made worse by patients who are taking up hospital beds when they should be receiving care in nursing homes or their own homes.
Last week there were 200 such cases across Cornwall’s hospitals.
Medical director Dr Allister Grant said yesterday: ‘There is unprecedented demand on health and care services in Cornwall, more so this week than at any point during the pandemic.
Ambulances outside A&E at Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske
‘As a result we have escalated our operational level from OPEL4 to an internal critical incident.
‘Pressure will always be most visible at the emergency department where ambulances are waiting, oud our priority here it to move people into wards as soon as we can.
‘Last night there were 100 people in the emergency department – it is designed to accommodate 40 at any one time – and more than 25 ambulance crews waiting to handover patients to go to their next call.
‘Even though they are already working extraordinarily hard, our staff are supporting the opening extra impatient areas not only in our hospitals but in care homes who have beds available but not the staff to open them.’
He urged family and friends to offer support to anyone waiting for home care to leave hospital saying that ‘getting someone home a day or two sooner will mean we can free up a vital hospital bed for someone else in urgent need’.
The situation at the hospital in Truro, which serves all of Cornwall, has been made worse by patients who are taking up hospital beds when they should be receiving care in nursing homes or their own homes
More than 5,000 people waited more than 12 hours in A&E before being seen by a doctor in September, a record high
The trust added today that it was treating 44 patients with Covid – ten more than the previous week.
There have been around 200 patients in the main hospital and other local hospitals who are bed blocking because of the lack of care home spaces.
Ambulance crews have tweeted the huge queues of ambulances stacked up outside the A&E department at the hospital.
And the boss of the South Western Ambulance Service Will Warrender has said that 30 per cent of his ambulances have been stacked up with patients at various hospitals waiting to off load them.
He said on one day this week 900 hours of crew time had been lost because of this, adding that the service is under ‘the most sustained period of pressure in its history’.
Waiting times at some Westcountry hospitals to see doctors has been up to 25 hours.
At Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, chief said ‘in the past 24 hours, 320 patients have attended our Emergency Department, of which 100 were brought in by ambulance’.
Boris Johnson warned this month that NHS waiting lists would ‘get worse before they get better.