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An NHS hospital has declared a rare "black alert" as about 300 patients visit its A&E department every day.
Barnsley Hospital in South Yorkshire is reportedly struggling to find beds for patients and has urged staff to do everything they can to ease the pressures on the healthcare facility.
Internal emails seen by The Independent show the hospital was forced to declare Opel 4 Status – which means Operations Pressure Escalation Levels – today.
The method is used by the NHS to measure the stress, demand and pressure a hospital is under, with Opel 4 representing the high escalation level.
Opel 4 is declared when a hospital is “unable to deliver comprehensive care” and patient safety is at risk.
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Barnsley Hospital has declared a 'black alert'
An email sent to staff warned of the "pretty challenging" bed situation.
It said more than 40 patients were in the emergency department and 15 of them were waiting for a bed.
By the evening, the number of patients in A&E escalated to 80 and 20 people were awaiting a bed.
The Independent reports that the high number of patients is due to A&E sickness rather than Covid-19.
Hospital staff have been urged to do everything they can to ease pressures on the emergency department
A high number of patients has been attending the A&E department
(Image: ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Internal emails also showed that the hospital's emergency department was full this morning and 12 patients in A&E were waiting for a bed – but only two beds were available.
Due to the high number of people seeking treatment, the hospital declared Opel 4 Status.
Staff have been urged to do everything they could to discharge patients as soon as possible, including early reviews of inpatients.
The Mirror has contacted Barnsley Hospital for comment.
The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in the UK is also on the rise
(Image: Getty Images)
Meanwhile, the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK has risen to its highest level for nearly two months.
A total of 1,378 patients were in hospital on June 20, according to the latest Government figures.
This is up 21% from the previous week, and is the highest since April 29.
It is also up 58% from the 870 patients recorded on May 27, which was the lowest number since the second wave of the virus.
The figures are still well below those recorded at the peak of the second wave, however.
A total of 39,254 Covid-19 patients were in hospital on January 18 – the highest at any point since the pandemic began.