NHS ‘black alert’ as patients wait in corridor and ambulances pile outside A&E

An NHS hospital has been placed on a 'black alert' OPEL 4 status as patients were filmed queuing in corridors and ambulances piled up outside A&E.

Emergencies at the Royal Cornwall Hospital's soared over the weekend before the department was placed on the highest operational pressure level.

On Monday evening, visitors reported that patients were being treated in corridors as six ambulances with new admissions queued up outside.

This morning – Wednesday, November 20 – a spokesperson for the trust confirmed that the hospital remains on OPEL 4.

The status is declared when a hospital is “unable to deliver comprehensive care” and patient safety is at risk.

The trust says it has dealt with an increase in the number of emergency cases.

Footage from inside the hospital was taken by a visitor – who claimed up to a dozen patients were being cared for in corridors and several ambulances queueing outside waiting to admit patients, reports Cornwall Live.

The video emerges after figure show A&E waiting times have hit their worst levels on record, new figures reveal just weeks before voters go to the polls.

NHS England data shows just 83.6% of patients were admitted or treated within four hours – well below the government's target of 95%.

This target was introduced under  Labour  in 2004, but has not been met since July 2015.

Nearly one in four cancer patients are waiting more than 62 days for their treatment to begin, figures show.

Jeremy Corbyn has branded the figures "disgraceful".

Labour's shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth posted on  Twitter : "It’s official – the Tories have pushed our NHS into crisis."

In a statement, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust said they were "working tirelessly to make sure people are treated…as quickly as possible".

They said: "The video does not show the experience we would want for our patients but we can’t close our doors or turn people away when our hospitals are busy.

"Our priority is to ensure patients are safe and receive the care and diagnostic examinations they need.

"Like the ambulance service we have seen a spike in emergencies over the weekend and the start of this week. Together our staff have been working tirelessly to make sure people are treated and return home, or are admitted, as quickly as possible and we are seeing an improvement in the situation."

The trust is urging people to seek treatment at pharmacies and minor injury units wherever possible to ease pressure on the hospital.

The statement continued: "Local people can help us, help them by using the most appropriate place for the care and support they need.

"We know that the colder weather will exacerbate long term conditions, particularly for those with respiratory problems. It’s important to take prescribed medicines and to seek help early from a GP, or by calling 111, if symptoms are getting worse, as that could avoid admission to hospital later on."

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