Major hospital trust to turn people away amid strike pressure
NHS hospitals are on the ‘highest level of escalation’ in Devon because of the pressures caused by strike action.
This could mean patients are sent away from A&E departments to seek care elsewhere if they are not critically ill.
It could also mean ambulances who attend call-outs across Devon and parts of Cornwall may need to take people to an emergency department away from their local hospital.
NHS bosses said they have taken the extra measures to keep patients safe.
The NHS in Devon has now entered OPEL 4 – the highest level of escalation – in light of the continued pressures.
In a statement, NHS Devon said: ‘A walk-out by junior doctors from 7am on Wednesday September 20 until 7am on Saturday September 23 has left many hospitals facing difficulties in filling rotas, especially over the next two evenings (Thursday and Friday).
‘Although consultants ended their separate 48-hour strike on Thursday morning, there remain far fewer clinical staff in hospital emergency departments than usual and the NHS in Devon has now entered OPEL 4 – the highest level of escalation – in light of the continued pressures.’
The NHS is now preparing to ‘deploy further measures if they are needed in coming days’, the statement also added.
It did stress to local people to still call 999 when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
For patients who require urgent treatment, but do not have symptoms of a life-threatening condition, should call 111 or use the 111 service online, the advice added.
Devon’s Chief Medical Officer Nigel Acheson said: ‘We have been doing everything we can to keep patients and colleagues safe through this period of extreme pressure due to the industrial action.
‘We are ready to put in place all measures needed to make sure we can look after the people who most desperately need our help.
‘We are counting on the understanding of local people at this difficult time and we encourage everyone to follow the advice we are giving today.’
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