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Hospital issues ‘black alert’ as patients told to come only if in life-threatening danger

The statement was issued by Aneurin Bevan University as the hospital said it was “under sustained and unprecedented pressure”. The health board has declared a “business continuity incident”, also known as a black alert, which is the highest alert level available.

An urgent message from the health board reads: “If you have a loved one in hospital who is deemed medically fit to be discharged, please consider taking them home and caring for them.

“If your loved one is medically fit to be discharged, then hospital is not the best place for them to be – they will recover better at home.

“If your loved one is medically fit for discharge, our staff will contact you to discuss the next steps.

“We are asking families to help in this way because it is best for their loved one and will free up hospital beds for sick patients who need to be admitted to hospital.”

A spokesperson told Wales Online the Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran is seeing “a record number of attendances” and that non-life-threatening patients were waiting more than 14 hours to see a doctor.

Saying it had “very few beds available” across its hospitals, a health board statement asked patients only to attend the Grange if their condition was life-threatening or if they had a serious injury.

The health board’s statement on Tuesday evening read: “The health board is under sustained and unprecedented pressure.

“Despite actions to try to stabilise our services today we have had to declare a state of ‘business continuity’.

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The hospital continued: “If you have a less serious injury then please visit one of our Minor Injury Units in Newport, Abergavenny or Ystrad Mynach.

“If you need medical help, please think carefully about the services you choose.”

A black alert is the most severe of the Operations Pressure Escalation Levels (OPEL), which is a method for the NHS to measure stress, demand and pressure.

NHS England classifies a black alert as a “serious incident”, which means the system is under severe pressure which could indicate the NHS is “unable to deliver comprehensive care” and patient safety is at risk.

The NHS usually declares a black alert if bed capacity is reached, there are severe handover delays where ambulances are unable to unload their patients, or if the whole system is experiencing reduced staffing levels due to sickness or severe weather conditions.



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