This article was published on January 19th, 2017
England’s hospitals are under huge pressure at present due to unprecedented numbers of people trying be admitted for care and treatment. As a result of the influx of people this month, at least 23 hospitals have had to declare a black alert after patient safety can no longer be guaranteed due to overcrowding.
A black alert is defined as a “serious incident” as a result of the hospital being under severe pressure and no longer able to deliver normal services and emergency care. Operations are cancelled including cancer related surgeries and also maternity ward services can be affected. Hospitals sometime have to take drastic actions to deal with sick patients and even treat adults in children’s wards if there is space.
Hospitals often try and prepare for higher admissions during the colder months due to more people suffering from breathing problems with asthma attacks, chest infections and also pneumonia can be more prevalent. This year there appears to be a particular problem with hospitals struggling and in one particular hospital they have even declared a “system critical incident” which is even more serious than a black alert!
With lack of beds, over stretched A&E departments and cancelled operations, patience is required but mistakes can and do happen and, whilst it is right to accept the extreme circumstances that hospitals are dealing with, it is also important not to accept hospital negligence, particularly if it leads to loss of life or seriously affected standards of living.
Royal College of Emergency medicine president: “Emergency departments are overflowing with patients, internal major incidents are being declared around the country and staff in emergency departments are struggling to cope with the immense demand being placed on their services,”
“These crowded environments are stretching the clinical workforce to their limits and, more importantly, at times are unsafe for patients.”
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