Critical incident declared in UK hospital

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Critical incident declared in UK hospital. image: twitter @Faye_Shepherd

Royal Cornwall Hospital declares a critical incident

A critical incident has been declared at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, with the facility reportedly at breaking point. At least 25 ambulances have had to park up outside Cornwall’s biggest hospital today, Thursday, October 21, due to what is described as an ‘unprecedented demand’, with the facility escalating its operating level to an “internal critical incident”.

Dr Allister Grant, the hospital’s medical director, explained the situation, “There is unprecedented demand on health and care services in Cornwall, more so this week than at any point during the pandemic. As a result, we have escalated our operational level from OPEL4 to an internal critical incident”.

He continued, “Pressure will always be most visible at the emergency department, where ambulances are waiting, and our priority here is to move people into wards as soon as we can. Last night there were 100 people in the emergency department – it is designed to accommodate 40 at any one time – and more than 25 ambulance crews waiting to hand over patients to go to their next call”.

Before adding, “Even though they are already working extraordinarily hard, our staff are supporting the opening extra impatient areas not only in our hospitals but in care homes who have beds available but not the staff to open them”.

The doctor made an urgent plea to loved ones to, “free up a vital hospital bed for someone else in urgent need”, if they had relatives who could be safely taken home.

Images were posted on social networks by the drivers of ambulances left queuing outside Royal Cornwall Hospital’s A&E department. Will Warrender, a spokesperson for South Western Ambulance Service said that around 30 per cent of their ambulances with sick patients inside them were having to wait outside various hospitals in the county.

Mr Warrender revealed that up to 900 hours of vital paramedic time had been wasted during just one 24-hour period this week due to the problems being faced. There have been reports of some patients at facilities in the West country having to wait as long as 25 hours to see a doctor.

“In the past 24 hours, 320 patients have attended our Emergency Department, of which 100 were brought in by ambulance”, said the chief of Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at