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Hospital declared it may ‘refuse critical care’ as ‘overwhelmed’ by covid


A hospital in the South East today declared a level of critical care alert meaning that it may be forced into ‘refusal or withdrawal of critical care due to resource limitation’ because it has been ‘overwhelmed’ — but later claimed it was an ”administrative error”.

Data from an internal NHS dashboard for critical care, seen by HSJ, showed today Darent Valley Hospital, near Dartford in Kent, declared it was at “CRITCON level four”. 

CRITCON level four declarations are extremely rare. In guidance they are known as “Triage - emergency” and defined as: “Resources overwhelmed. Possibility of triage by resource (non-clinical refusal or withdrawal of critical care due to resource limitation).”

The definition continues: “This must only be implemented on national directive from [NHS England] and in accordance with national guidance.”

Dartford and Gravesham Trust, which runs the hospital, replied to HSJ more than five hours after it was contacted, and after publication of the story, to say: “This was a purely administrative error which was quickly rectified.” The level has not however been changed so far on the live dashboard, HSJ has confirmed.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 7 January 2021

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