Throughout the Covid pandemic, we have been told to protect the NHS. Well, at the moment, hospitals around the country are struggling to staff the departments due to Covid and self-isolation, while the government plans to ‘ride it out’.
Many areas of the country have declared critical incidents, mainly in the north of England but also at Derriford, closer to home. Plymouth University Hospitals Trust declared an internal critical incident yesterday. The Chief Operating Officer, Jo Beer, said:
This morning (Tuesday 4 January) we communicated to our staff that we are operating in an internal critical incident. This is due to the high pressure on urgent care services and increasing demand for COVID beds. We currently have 99 COVID positive patients across Derriford and our three community hospitals and just under 500 staff absent for COVID-related reasons.
Other hospitals have paused non-urgent surgery, such as in Greater Manchester, where 15% of staff have Covid or are self-isolating. Others still have banned visitors.
The Royal Cornwall Hospital is also very stretched; it currently has ‘longest waiting times’ at 3 hrs 27 mins. Remember, Emergency Departments are only for for ‘999’ serious and life-threatening injury and illness.
The Trust website currently says anyone needing urgent care should contact 111, day or night, to find out where they should go. Emergency patients are advised not to just turn up at A & E as there may be a long wait or people may be redirected.
Visiting is also restricted at all Cornwall hospitals for the time being.
You can find out wait times at various medical facilities here.