RD&E on highest possible alert

The Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (RD&E) has gone into OPEL 4 status – its highest alert level – due to high demand and staff shortages.

Howard Lloyd www.devonlive.com

The NHS Foundation Trust revealed today that it was ‘experiencing severe pressure’ across a range of services and both its acute and community hospitals.

Patients are being urged to phone 111 if they need urgent care instead of coming to the emergency department for treatment.

The hospital added that it was not the only one in Devon experiencing extreme pressures.

Phil Luke, director of operations, said: “The RD&E – and the wider NHS across Devon – is extremely busy today.

“As always, our top priority is to continue delivering safe, quality care. To help us ensure this, I am asking people who do not need emergency care to phone NHS 111 in the first instance. This will help to ease the burden on our overstretched services at this time. It is important to stress, though, that if you do need emergency care, please phone 999 or attend our emergency department.”

“In addition, if people have a loved one who is medically well and able to leave hospital please support us to ensure that they can do so safely.”

The Trust continues to operate its maternity services as normal.

A statement on the RD&E website added: The Trust is currently at OPEL 4 status – the highest alert level – due to:

  • A large number of people continuing to visit our Emergency Department
  • Delays with discharging patients who have no onward care arrangements in place
  • A high level of staff absence due to COVID-19 self-isolation
  • Caring for a small number of patients with COVID-19 and the impact this has on our other service
  • Pressures across our paediatric services

Several other NHS organisations across Devon are also experiencing severe pressures. The RD&E is working with these organisations to reduce pressures, focusing on ensuring people are cared for in the most appropriate setting.

  • Our Emergency Department, which is for urgent and immediately life-threatening cases only, is extremely busy today with longer waits than usual.
  • If people need urgent care, before coming to our Emergency Department, we ask that they call 111 or visit 111 online first. Through 111, they’ll be able to speak to a clinician, who will advise where to go to get the right treatment more quickly.
  • It’s really important that people continue to attend appointments and seek medical attention if they need it.
  • If a friend, family member, or loved one is medically fit and able to leave hospital sooner, we ask that people get in touch with our Family Liaison Service to help us make discharge arrangements. The service is open 7 days a week, 9am-5pm, and can be reached on T: 01392 402093 (weekdays only) or E: rde-tr.pals@nhs.net (7 days a week). If you cannot get through on phone please email and we will ensure this is picked up.
  • The free paediatric HANDiApp provides expert advice for common childhood illnesses.

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