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Internal Critical Incident

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Jo Beer, Chief Operating Officer Message from Jo Beer, Chief Operating Officer

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.

We don't want people to be alarmed by this. We took the decision to escalate to the highest level of internal incident because this allows us to be able to take additional steps to maintain safe services for our patients and help us cope with the growing pressures.

Please be assured, we are still here for you, if need us, in an emergency.

As the Major Trauma Centre and Specialist centre for the South West, at Derriford Hospital, we receive some of the most acutely unwell patients by air and road ambulance. We are running at extremely high levels of occupancy and like a number of other hospitals across the country, we are seeing huge rises in demands for our services at the moment. Attendances in our Emergency Department are high; there are ongoing challenges in discharging patients who are well enough to leave hospital, and we are seeing an increase in staff sickness - all of which leads to longer waits than we would like for patients to be seen and admitted. 

We are here to help in an emergency, but we would ask people to consider all options when accessing urgent care, such as accessing NHS111 as a first point of call. We encourage the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a flu jab if eligible. Please head to the ‘Stay Well’ section of our website for more information

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Massive thanks to our staff for their continued commitment to working for our patients to provide the best possible care in tough circumstances. Everyone is doing their best and this is appreciated.

An internal critical incident can be declared for a period of hours, days or weeks and then stood down, or as with the national level four incident for COVID, for a period of much longer. We will post an update here when the internal critical incident is stood down.


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