• Major teaching trust declared black alert at 9am on Tuesday
  • Other parts of the country also under pressure this summer

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has declared a black alert and is urging staff to prioritise patient discharges.

The trust confirmed with HSJ it had been on black alert – also known as Opel 4 – since 9am yesterday morning. It is very rare for trusts outside areas attracting large number of tourists to declare a black alert in the summer.

Lisa Kelly, chief operating officer at NUH, said: “We’ve experienced high demand on our emergency services over the last 24-48 hours with limited flow through and out of our hospitals, regrettably meaning some patients haven’t received the timely care they deserve.”

Ms Kelly added: “We have asked our local community to help by only using our emergency department for serious and life-threatening illness and injuries.”

According to an internal alert message seen by HSJ, the trust asked staff to focus on patient discharge and preparing them for transport.

“Consider use of the discharge lounge and review patients in outlier wards in a timely manner,” it said. “Escalate any delays to the divisional leadership team.”

The trust declared 15 black alerts between December 2018 and April 2019. Its accident and emergency four-hour performance dipped to as low as 57.2 per cent on one day during the same period.

NUH also faced substantial pressure last winter and declared multiple black alerts, including for the whole of the Nottinghamshire area.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital also declared a black alert yesterday morning and has urged tourists and locals to “consider the best place for their health needs”.

Earlier this month, HSJ reported the NHS has recorded its worst first quarter A&E performance since records began, according to new data.