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Treliske on 'black alert' for 134 days this year

Treliske health hospital

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:34am 16th December 2018.

Figures show the trust that runs Cornwall's biggest hospital has been on so-called black alert for 134 days in the last year.

A hospital goes onto 'black alert' when there are more people needing treatment than beds or staff available.

It is officially known as Opel 4 and happens when patient safety could be compromised.

It could mean long waits on trolleys in A&E or for ambulance crews to handover patients.

Extra staff are drafted in and routine operations cancelled to make room in surgical beds for other patients.

royal cornwall hospital
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals' Trust was on black alert for 134 days from January to September 2018

The alert is usually because the whole health and care system is struggling from the availability of anything from GP appointments to social care packages. 

From January to September this year, Treliske was on black alert for more days than any other trust in England.

Treliske said they "experienced an exceptionally busy period and fully understand the distress" that "causes to an individual and their family"

They added: "The decision to postpone an operation is never taken lightly and our staff worked their hardest throughout the winter to avoid this happening wherever possible."

“Through the close working relationship that was established in the Spring with our health and care partners we have worked together on our plan for this winter to help us avoid a similar situation and to ensure patients, including those waiting for routine operations, are able to access the right care at the right time".

Health and Wellbeing Show
Treliske was on the highest alert level, Opel 4, for more days than any other hospitals' trust in England

Union groups, GMB and UNISON, have described the figures as 'horrifying' and believe it shows just how stretched health services are all year round. 

Some local Healthwatch patient groups say they have seen an increase in complaints and that problems elsewhere in the system are putting extra pressure on hospitals.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital was under extreme pressure last year and has made improvements. 

But despite the reassurances, NHS providers which represent health trusts are warning that this winter could be even more challenging. 

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