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Royal Cornwall Hospital back on Black Alert

Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. Credit: ITV West Country

The Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro is back on black alert status - for the third time this year.

Patients are being urged to use alternative services and avoid A & E unless they need urgent care. Family and friends collecting patients are being asked to do so as quickly as possible to free up more beds.

A black alert was also declared on the 8th and 22nd of January.

Andrew MacCallum, Chief Executive of the Royal Cornwall Hospital NHS Trust says there have been delays in transfer of care.

We have seen significant demand on our hospitals in the past 24 hours with high numbers of emergency patient admissions and delayed transfers of care.

We are currently on a black bed status and have asked for additional support from our partner organisations and GPs to accelerate patient discharges, including the delivery of social care packages for patients ready to leave hospital.

– Andrew MacCallum


In the meantime the RCHT is urging patients who don't need emergency care to use other services like GP's and pharmacies to help ease the pressure.

More: What service do I need?


Derriford opens 'escalation' beds amid Red Alert status

Credit: ITV West Country

Staff at Derriford Hospital have had to fill almost every available space with extra beds after a surge in patients needing emergency care.

The hospital is currently on red alertand a number of operations have been cancelled to help cope with the high number of attending A&E.

Extra staff have been hired in the hope of removing some of the 41 extra beds.

Yesterday was a better day, so although the hospital remains very busy, we do have beds available and today we are hoping to close some of the 41 escalation beds.

We remain on red alert. We would like to once again apologise to anyone whose operation or procedure has been cancelled as a result of the emergency pressures.

Our staff are working hard to re-book people affected as soon as possible. We would like to end by thanking the public for the amazing messages of support we have received, on social media and in person for our staff and the work they do.

Our staff are working incredibly hard and these comments have been much appreciated at a tough time.

– Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

'Every extra bed in every extra space' in use at Derriford Hospital

Credit: ITV News

Derriford Hospital is currently on Red Alert and extremely busy after a surge in patients needing emergency care.

The hospital says a high number of patients have attended A&E, many of whom are acutely unwell and need to be admitted as medical emergencies.

We have opened 41 'escalation' beds - every extra bed in every extra space we have. However, these beds are not planned for and therefore we did not have rostered staff to care for patients in these beds. Hence why we have been appealing for staff to work additional shifts, offering additional payments and used other temporary staff.

– Derriford Hospital website
"Every extra bed in every extra space we have" is being used Credit: ITV News

The hospital says it put many measures in place to try to prevent the winter demand overwhelming their services - including increasing staff and working with the council's discharge team.

But despite everything we have done, meeting increased demand from a population that is living longer but with more illness and disability, as an acute hospital is extremely difficult.

– Derriford Hospital website
Planned operations and procedures per day are being cancelled.

The hospital added on its website that they "apologise sincerely to those patients affected" by the measures, and that staff are working extremely hard to try to minimise the effect.

  • If patients need non-emergency medical care, please contact your GP or, out-of-hours, NHS 111
  • If you have an appointment at Derriford Hospital please attend as planned, unless contacted otherwise

'It's eye-catching certainly!' The man whose prostate cancer photo is going viral

Kurt Jewson, who describes himself as a "tubby, pale and middle aged" man, was a little nervous about sharing this photo with family and friends - he could never have known just how strong a reaction it would have:

The picture has now been seen by more than 200,000 people Credit: Kurt Jewson/ Facebook

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and thought the picture, which shows him scarred from surgery and wearing a catheter and colostemy bag, would help raise awareness.

With bravery and a great sense of humour, he shared his photo in the hope that more people might spend five minutes on the Prostate Cancer website - a move he says "could save your life".

Family have been really supportive, though my wife said 'Why didn't you tidy the room?'

– Kurt Jewson

Today he joined us remotely to chat about the photo, his experience fighting the disease, and the incredible reaction his bravery has provoked:


Government apology after NHS helpline missed chance to save one-year-old boy

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to the family of one-year-old William Mead from Cornwall who died of sepsis after an NHS non-emergency helpline failed to recognise the severity of his illness.

Mr. Hunt said the case showed the issues raised in the case had significant implications for the whole of the NHS.

The Health Secretary also said the NHS England report showed there were several areas where the NHS where the NHS missed opportunities to treat William Mead including:

  • Primary care and GP appointments made by William's family
  • Out-of-hours calls with their GP
  • The NHS 111 Service

The report said if better action had taken place at these stages the one-year-old would probably have survived.

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