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Derriford Hospital spent thousands coping with black alert

Derriford Hospital spends thousands coping with black alert Credit: ITV News

Derriford Hospital spent nearly £2 million on over time and agency staff in just one month as it coped with huge demand due to its black alert status.

For the first three months of this year the Plymouth hospital declared black alert as it dealt with what it describes as "unprecedented and sustained" demand.

As people will know, we faced a significant period of unprecedented and sustained demand on our emergency and medical services, which impacted right across the hospital.

During this time, on numerous occasions, we put out internal and public appeals to our staff to ask if they would work extra shifts and offering overtime, to enable us to meet the pressures we faced and to ensure our patients continued to be well cared for. Our staff responded admirable during these difficult times.

It was also necessary for us to have a flexible temporary workforce resource during this time. We did this by redeploying staff and utilising NHS Professionals (our supplier of bank staff) and where these options were not available to us then, as an absolute last resort, we used agency staff.

– Kevin Baber, Chief Operating Officer for Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Is the West's healthcare in crisis?

All our major hospitals in the region remain on a heightened state of alert tonight as they approach one of the busiest Bank Holidays of the year.

Demand for frontline services and beds is continuing to place immense strain on the system - and all this as healthcare remains one of the top-three election issues in voters minds.

Kathy Wardle reports

ITV's Robert Murphy raised these issues with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt who was on the campaign trail in Yeovil this afternoon.


More than a third earn less than the living wage

At least 1 in 3 workers living in Devon and Cornwall earn less than the living wage Credit: PA

More than a third of workers living in Devon and Cornwall are getting paid less than the living wage.

Latest figures indicate far more people in the West Country are being illegally under-paid than the rest of the UK.

In South East Cornwall, 40% of jobs are being paid below the minimum rate.

Are we in the midst of the longest wage squeeze on record?

Average pay in the South West fell by nearly £300 last year, according to new figures published by the Trades Union Congress.

They say the average full-time employee wage in the region has fallen by more than £2000 since 2010. The TUC also claim workers have endured the longest wage squeeze since records began in the 1850s.

Average pay is down, according to new figures Credit: PA


Visit Cornwall could be saved by business takeover

Visit Cornwall which promotes the county's tourism was due to close at the end of next month Credit: ITV News

A deal to save Cornwall's tourism organisation is on the verge of being agreed.

Visit Cornwall which promotes the county's tourism across the UK and abroad was due to close at the end of next month when Cornwall Council ends its funding of £850,000 a year.

The council has been in talks to switch the funding to the private sector.

More details will be announced later today when the tourism minister Helen Grant visits Cornwall.

"I've been sending money for years. I don't get anything back"

The awful picture of the elderly people in Devon who are victims of fraudsters. Their names have been bought and sold by criminals - a marketing list of the vulnerable.

Police in Devon have started a new operation to protect elderly victims of fraud. In the past eight months they say at least £600,000 has been lost to scams from just 35 pensioners.

In Seth Conway's report on Operation Jessica, we hear from one of the victims who says she has been sending money to con artists for years, despite never getting anything back.

Police launch new campaign to protect those vulnerable to fraud

Police in Devon have started a new operation to protect elderly victims of fraud.

Since May last year in North and West Devon police know of 35 elderly people who between them have lost £600,000 in scam mail crimes.

Criminals are exchanging the names of the elderly in the West Country using marketing lists of the vulnerable.

Police say these organised gangs then bombard their victims with scam mail and are defrauding them of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

One 92-year-old woman, who didn't want to be named, thought she'd been paying clairvoyants to send predictions through the post. Officers say it's a scam, and she has no idea how much money she's lost to the fraudsters.

Officers say they're sure there are many more victims like this.

Police today launched Operation Jessica to help protect the elderly and vulnerable from this type of crime. It's named after a victim who died after being hounded by fraudsters. Her daughter started The Think Jessica Charity to try to stop others suffering as her mum had done.

The police believe money given by Devon victims to these fraudsters could be funding even worse crimes:

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