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UHMBT declares ''OPEL 4' in response to rising pressures

7 June 2022

  • Making improvements

Over the busy Bank Holiday weekend, our teams came together to mobilise the plan that had been put in place with our Bay Health and Care Partners to try to alleviate the pressures.  However, pressure across our urgent care services has continued resulting in longer waits than we would like for patients to be seen and admitted from our Emergency Departments.

Therefore the Trust has taken the decision to escalate to OPEL 4 - the highest level of internal escalation. This allows us to be able to take additional steps to maintain safe services for our patients and help us cope with the growing demands.

Declaring OPEL 4 enables us to bring all our partners in Lancashire and South Cumbria together to focus on one thing - the safe and timely care of all of our patients. 

As always, patient safety must take priority and we need to take action to make sure that those who are more clinically urgent get the help they need as quickly as possible. There are some immediate actions being taken by Trust teams and our partners, including:

  • Looking into the potential to extend the opening hours of our Urgent Treatment Centres in Kendal and Morecambe to accommodate more patients with minor illnesses or injuries
  • Working with our colleagues in ambulance services to ensure the safe and timely handover of patients to the care setting that best meets their needs, to allow for the prompt turnaround and keep ambulances on the road, serving patients
  • Discussing options with social care colleagues to expedite the safe discharge of as many patients as possible who are well enough to be discharged but remain in hospital for various reasons,
  • Ensuring all senior clinical staff are available to support ward colleagues on the ground and help unblock as many delays in admission and discharge as possible, 
  • Seeking support from our colleagues in primary care, pharmacy and other services to support patients who need advice, but who are not in immediate danger of life-threatening illness 

If you are not contacted directly, please continue to turn up for your appointment. Please also contact the number on your appointment letter if you are no longer able to make your appointment so it can be reallocated to another patient.

Our teams continue to work exceptionally hard; and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that in spite of the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if you require urgent medical help, please continue to come forward.

The public can help us manage these periods of demand by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services, and only attending A&E for serious accidents and emergencies. If you are unwell, visit NHS 111 online for 24/7 advice about the most appropriate care for your needs.

Aaron Cummins
Chief Executive