Hospitals at crisis point
Hospitals across the Westcountry are battling to free up bed spaces to cope with a surge in admissions and restrictions caused by the highly infectious winter vomiting bug norovirus.
Derriford Hospital in Plymouth was placed on a "black alert" – the highest possible – on Monday. As pressures eased, that was moved down to "red" alert, a status also in place at Torbay Hospital in South Devon. It comes as Cornwall's health system was put on the critical list as a damning report on the county's out-of-hours GP service has once again thrust it into the spotlight.
Many hospitals have blamed a combination of factors for the problems including higher than average admissions, the winter bug which has closed some wards and delayed discharges – commonly known as bed-blocking – where patients are moved into community hospitals, care homes or sent home with support.
The problem has been less acute at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and North Devon District Hospital at Barnstaple, which said they were on "amber" and "green" alerts respectively.
HALF PRICE KIDS' MEALS at HALF TERM at COUNTRY SKITTLES!View details
Yes, from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June, you can get HALF PRICE KIDS’ MEALS. One half price with every adult meal purchased from the main menu at Country Skittles.
One kids meal half price with every adult meal purchased from main menu at Country Skittles, Hayle.
Must bring the voucher along, and offer cannot be used with any others we may have available.
Contact: 01736 800606
Valid until: Sunday, June 02 2013
In Cornwall, the Royal Cornwall Hospital has been running a "major incident" since last Thursday, but downgraded the status yesterday afternoon.
However, the county's health system has been brought under scrutiny as a financial watchdog reports that the service provided by private firm Serco has simply failed to deliver national quality requirements.
The National Audit Office (NAO) was called in over fears about staffing and allegations that performance data had been altered.
The report will make uncomfortable reading for Serco and NHS Cornwall, the primary care trust (PCT) which actually awarded Serco the contract.
Margaret Hodge, chairman of the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, said: "It is simply not good enough that neither Serco nor the PCT detected these problems."