The Royal Cornwall Hospital escalated its operating level after dozens of ambulances queued outside its emergency department, telling staff it was experiencing “intense pressure” with 100 people in A&E
Image: Credit: CornwallLive/BPM)
A hospital has pleaded for its staff to work extra hours after it raised its alert level to an ‘internal critical incident’.
The Royal Cornwall Hospital escalated its operating level after dozens of ambulances queued outside its emergency department.
A post on the private Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Facebook page, seen by CornwallLive, explained that staff at the Truro hospital were under “intense pressure” with 100 people in the emergency department.
It also explained that at the time of the post, more than 25 ambulances urgently needed to handover patients so they could get back to calls that are waiting.
It appealed for any colleagues who are able to work additional hours to report to the hospital “as soon as you are able”.
It comes as over 25 ambulances are regularly being forced to queue outside the hospital’s emergency department (ED) as it department faces unprecedented demand.
The post read: “URGENT – Can you work any extra hours tonight?
“We’re under intense pressure with 100 people in the Emergency Department at RCH with more than 25 ambulances urgently needing to handover patients so they can get to calls that are waiting.
“We are trying to open as much additional space as we can. The position is unlikely to improve overnight and we will probably declare a critical incident.
“Any colleagues who are able to work clinically – nursing, healthcare assistant, therapy, medical, etc – are asked to come to RCH and report to the Clinical Site Office (Trelawny ‘x-ray corridor) as soon as you are able.
“We’re also looking for any radiographers who could support the opening of x-ray at West Cornwall Hospital to run a 24-hour service.”
The situation has been exacerbated by hospital beds being taken up by patients who should be receiving care in their own homes or in nursing homes. Last week there were 200 such cases across Cornwall’s hospitals.
Speaking on behalf of the NHS in Cornwall, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) 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, and our priority here is to move people into wards as soon as we can. Last night (Wednesday into Thursday) there were over 100 people in the emergency department – it is designed to accommodate 40 people 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 inpatient areas not only in our hospitals but in care homes who have beds available but not the staff to open them.
“Families, friends and neighbours are urged to help us, too, by offering to support someone waiting for home care to leave hospital sooner, and we would ask them to contact the ward directly if they can help in any way. Getting someone home a day or two sooner will mean we can free up a vital hospital bed for someone else in urgent need.”