Hospitals issue alerts over patient safety

Pontefract Hospital
Pontefract Hospital

Urgent measures are being taken to tackle overcrowding in hospitals after safety warnings were issued.

The district’s hospitals were on the second highest alert level after struggling to treat all the patients turning up at A&E.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh.

Latest figures released by NHS England show that NHS trusts around the country struggled to cope as a winter crisis continued into the first week of the year.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals were both at Operational Pressures Escalation Level (OPEL) 3 between January 3-7.

OPEL 3 means hospitals and social care services are “experiencing major pressures compromising patient flow”.

Mid Yorkshire, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, has urged people on to go to A&E if they are in a genuine emergency.

Staffing problems and a surge in A&E attendances have been causing long delays in emergency departments and patients stuck in beds waiting to be discharged.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh accused the Prime Minister and health secretary of failing to avert a winter crisis in the health service by hitting the NHS with spending cuts and not recruiting enough staff.

Ms Creagh said: “The health secretary Jeremy Hunt said in parliament last week that things have only been ‘falling over in a couple of places’. He and Theresa May are delusional, and their inaction is risking lives.”

The highest alert level is OPEL 4, which means hospitals are unable to look patients properly and safety could be compromised.

The OPEL system was introduced in December to standardise the reporting of hospitals struggling with demand.

Previously terms like ‘black alert’ or ‘major incident’ were used by NHS trusts.