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Royal Cornwall Hospital declares 'black alert'

Royal Cornwal Hospital in Truro has seen a dramatic rise in emergency admissions Credit: ITV News

One of the West Country's biggest hospitals has been placed on black alert, after a dramatic rise in the emergency admissions.

On Thursday, 125 ambulances brought patients to the Royal Cornwall Hospital - 30 more than normal.

Patients are being told not to come to casualty unless it is a genuine emergency.

Royal Cornwall Hospital has today declared a black bed state with significant demand for our services. Patient safety is our top priority both in our emergency department and supporting patients to get home or to onward care.

The local community can help by using alternative services wherever possible such as minor injury units, urgent care centres, GPs and pharmacies to keep the emergency department for emergencies and supporting relatives and friends to come home from hospital.

– Royal Cornwall Hospital spokesperson


Royal Cornwall Hospital on Black Alert

Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is on Black Alert Credit: PA

Royal Cornwall Hospital is on Black Alert as high demand puts local health and social care system under major pressure.

Local Accident and Emergency remains extremely busy with large numbers of very sick, frail and elderly patients needing urgent care and patient flow remains slow through the system. This is likely to continue in the coming weeks.

Local people are encouraged to ‘do their bit’ to reduce pressure on the local system by choosing the most appropriate service for their needs and avoiding A&E for everything except genuine, life-threatening emergencies.

The local health and social care system remains under significant and concerted pressure. We are coping with this pressure, but are issuing a ‘call to action’ asking people to think hard about whether they can self-care and treat the symptoms themselves or to consider the most appropriate service for their need.

The local system is extremely busy and we can all play our part in minimising the impact of this. Every correct decision made by people about self-care or where to be seen helps to free up the system to prioritise the most serious cases quickly and improve patient flow.

Pitching up at A&E inappropriately puts a huge and unnecessary strain on the local NHS. It is not a place for ‘conditions’ like broken finger nails, sore throats, hangovers or minor cuts and bruises which have been seen there in the past.

A&E is for serious and life-threatening conditions like chest pain, stroke, severe abdominal pain, severe bleeding or breathing difficulties, major broken bones and serious head injuries. In a life threatening situation, don’t hesitate – call 999 or attend A&E. Our focus is to prioritise the safe delivery of emergency care to those who are most in need.

– Dr Iain Chorlton, Chairman of NHS Kernow

Royal Cornwall Hospital back on Black Alert

The Trust says they are exceptionally busy. Credit: PA

An "unprecedented" demand for services at the Royal Cornwall Hospital have placed it back on Black Alert status for the fourth time this year.

This is the highest level of alert, which usually means bed capacity has been reached and that patients arriving at A&E will have to be taken to another hospital.

People are being told to stay away unless it is a genuine emergency - and where possible pick up relatives and friends as soon as possible, when they are ready to go home from hospital.

  • Read more: What does Black Alert mean?

The Emergency Department team is under significant pressure and non-emergency patients are strongly advised to use alternative services to avoid long waits.

As always I want to thank our staff for their extraordinary commitment to caring for and treating patients in difficult circumstances and our priority will always to keep patients safe and prioritise according to need.

– Paul Bostock, Chief Operating Officer at RCHT

People are being asked to choose what kind of care they need carefully - the NHS 111 helpline can give advice as to the nearest and most appropriate service.

You can also visit the NHS Choices website.

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?

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