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Second ‘Black Alert’ for Cornwall Hospital due to confusion over out of hours services

Posted on 10th April 2015

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust have declared another ‘black alert’ for the second time this year as a result of ‘extreme’ pressure on the services over the Easter weekend. According to BBC News, a ward had to be closed on Monday due to an outbreak of Noro virus and the Trust were struggling to discharge patients home.
Back in February this year the hospital were on ‘black alert’ for about a week.
It appears that there has been confusion with the NHS 111 phone service, which caused delays, as calls were not able to get through to the Cornwall GP service. This resulted in increased attendance at Accident & Emergency by the public, who were confronted with long waiting times, of up to 11 hours, and we understand that operations were cancelled. The public are being urged not to go to A&E unless it is an emergency.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS Kernow, is now asking people to consider the most appropriate place to go for treatment when unwell.
Rachel Heelis, Partner at Hogde Jones & Allen, based in Cornwall, commented ‘It is worrying that this is the second black alert for the Trust in 4 months. The Easter weekend saw an influx of visitors arriving in Cornwall for the holidays and with many more expected over the summer, it will inevitably put more pressure on the hospital. Hopefully, they will be able to address the issues at this stage and that the NHS provides give clearer guidance to the public as to which out of hours services to access and when’.