Cornwall

Royal Cornwall Hospitals black alert stays until Monday

Royal Cornwall Hospital Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The black alert at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust will continue until Monday

A hospital "black alert" put in place because of pressure on its services will continue until Monday, the BBC has learned.

Operations have been cancelled and patients kept on trolleys for up to eight hours at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.

The black alert, the highest level possible, was declared on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the trust told the BBC the alert would remain in place until Monday.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust covers St Michael's in Hayle, West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance and The Royal Cornwall at Treliske.

NHS Kernow, the GP-led group that buys health services, said there was "significant, sustained pressure across the whole healthcare system".

Dr Iain Chorlton, governing body member at NHS Kernow, said: "There continues to be a rise in the number of sick patients who need to be admitted into hospital for emergency care, particularly with respiratory conditions."

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Hospital bosses said there was "significant, sustained pressure" on the healthcare system

Graham Webster, vice-chairman of campaign group Health Initiative Cornwall, said the decision to launch a black alert was "extreme".

He said: "Obviously nobody wants this because it has a serious effect on the hospital's ability to look after very poorly patients."

Mr Webster said "patient flow" issues were a longstanding problem at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust due to a shortage of beds and staff.

The black alert measure applies to the whole health and social care system in Cornwall, and patients are being asked to use the A&E department only if it is urgent.

Alternative support and services are available by calling NHS 111, hospital chiefs said.

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