Soaring number of NHS hospital trusts declare 'black alert'

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May apologises over NHS winter crisis by Ann Jones Published

"We are urging the public to choose wisely when it comes to selecting which NHS service they need and to only call for an ambulance if it is a life-threatening emergency".

It's after national coverage about the NHS winter plans to prioritise services.

Trusts have also been told they can abandon efforts to house male and female patients in separate wards, in an effort to protect basic safety, as services become overwhelmed.By Tuesday night 12 NHS trusts - including two ambulance services covering nearly nine million people - had declared they had reached the maximum state of emergency.

Hospitals are reporting growing chaos, with a spike in winter flu leaving frail patients facing 12-hour waits, and some units running out of corridor space.

Richard Murray, director of policy at health think-tank the King's Fund, said: "Although these weekly data have not been fully validated, if they are right then hospital bed occupancy - a good proxy for the pressure hospitals are under - has been at even higher levels than a year ago".

"There are more beds available across the system", she added.

In the south of the county, 300 beds had been blocked for at least a week while 117 had been blocked for 21 days or more.

Extra beds taken from the Banbury hospital's dialysis ward will stay at the emergency department until the end of the month, meaning dialysis patients will have to keep going to Oxford for treatment.

"There needs to be a fundamental review of the sort of health and social care we want in this country".

"So you can imagine - knowing we've got hours and hours of waiting with mumsy in a serious condition and seeing the stress of the staff who are overwhelmed and deeply hurt that this is happening to their patients and to them!"

The HSCB added that "there may be times when it is unavoidable to postpone elective operations due to the level of unscheduled care pressures".

Soaring number of NHS hospital trusts declare 'black alert'
Soaring number of NHS hospital trusts declare 'black alert'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised for any one affected by cancellations but said the guidance meant cancellations were taking place in a "planned way", unlike past year.

Today Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron called for a cross party solution to problems within the NHS.

It is not the fault of the hospitals nor their over-worked staff.

Why? Well, analysis from the health think tank the King's Fund highlights two key factors.

"However, it's also obvious that no single party has the answer to fix this problem". All the criticism of the NHS must inevitably affect their sense of worth and ability to see a future in their organisation.

This happens when trusts can no longer guarantee patient safety and provide their full range of services.

Beyond this point, mortality rates increase and infections such as influenza, norovirus and C-Diff can spread more quickly.

Secondly, NHS funding is no longer keeping pace with the rising demand.

Non-emergency calls to the NHS hotline reached a record high in the week ending December 31, the latest data shows.

The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said it has taken steps to reduce "some" routine surgery but expects the pressure to remain over the next few days.

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