ROYAL Cornwall Hospital has declared a critical incident after 25 ambulances were left queuing outside amid “unprecedented” demand.
The county’s main hospital is at breaking point as 100 patients flooded the emergency department – that only has the capacity for 40.
Ambulances were left queueing outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital as they struggle to cope with the influx of patients[/caption]
Staff have been forced to work “extraordinarily hard” to try and cope with the demand that the Trust says has been exacerbated by the number of patients attending the hospital, who should be receiving care elsewhere.
The hospital escalated its operating level to an “internal critical incident” amid the influx of patients and the queue of ambulances waiting to offload.
The hospital’s medical director, Dr Allister Grant, said: “There is unprecedented demand on health and care services in Cornwall, more so this week than at any point during the pandemic.
“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.
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“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 loved ones to offer support for anyone waiting to leave the hospital so they could “free up a vital hospital bed for someone else in urgent need”.
The lack of spaces in care homes has left 200 patients “bed blocking” in the main hospital and other local healthcare providers.
Ambulance crews shared images of the huge number of emergency vehicles mounting up outside of the A&E department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
South Western Ambulance Service said 30 per cent of their ambulances have been left waiting outside of various hospitals waiting to offload poorly patients.
Boss Will Warrender revealed that 900 hours of paramedics time had been wasted on one day this week due to the concerning issue.
Some patients have reportedly also been waiting up to 25 hours to see doctors at some Westcountry hospitals.
The chief of Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital said: “In the past 24 hours, 320 patients have attended our Emergency Department, of which 100 were brought in by ambulance.”
Just last month, three hospitals in the county were forced to suspend all urgent and planned surgeries after a colossal surge in Covid patients.
They made the “difficult decision” after mounting pressure on NHS services, while the 999 operators were answering calls every 25 seconds.
This week, one NHS trust were forced to call in the military due to staff shortages as they buckled under the pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health chiefs at NHS Grampian said they are “really worried” about how the trust will cope over the winter months.
And the lack of NHS staff has left terminal patients unable to receive life-extending treatment at one of England’s largest trusts.
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust announced it was urgently trying to fill vacant posts so they could administer care.
Boris Johnson warned this month NHS waiting lists would “get worse before they get better”.