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NHS hospital declares ‘critical incident’ as demand higher ‘than any time during pandemic’

A major hospital has declared a “critical incident” after a surge in demand saw more than 100 patients awaiting treatment in A&E and 25 ambulances queueing outside.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske, in Truro said “unprecedented” pressure this week is worse “than at any point during the pandemic.”

It urged “families, friends and neighbours” to collect any patients who are able to “to leave hospital sooner.”

Managers at Cornwall’s main hospital raised the operating level from OPEL4 — known as a ‘black alert’ — to an ‘internal critical incident’ to allow for greater cooperation to ease the crisis.

It comes as the government is under intense pressure to reimpose some COVID-19 measures amid a surge in cases, with many other NHS clinics and hospitals across the country facing similar pressure.

Allister Grant, medical director of the RCHT, said: “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.

“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.”

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Source: The Independent, 21 October 2021

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Cardiac arrest: Thousands of defibrillators unknown to 999 service

Tens of thousands of defibrillators across the UK risk being unusable because 999 call handlers do not know about them.

When someone has a cardiac arrest, ambulance staff can only direct bystanders to the nearest defibrillator if it is on a central register.

"That could be the difference between life and death," said Adam Fletcher, head of British Heart Foundation Cymru.

A campaign to register defibrillators on The Circuit has now been launched.

Survival rates are low in the more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) - with fewer than one in 10 people surviving.

BHF said early CPR and defibrillation could double the chances of surviving and it was often down to 999 call handlers being aware that a defibrillator was nearby.

"If we don't know a defibrillator is there, we can't send somebody to get it, to potentially save somebody's life," said Carl Powell, the clinical support lead for cardiac care with the Welsh Ambulance Service.

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Source: BBC News, 22 October 2021

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