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OPEL alert allowed me to see up close the impact service pressures have on patients and nurses

The urgent need to free up beds takes a toll even on patients deemed fit for discharge
patients lying on trolleys in a busy waiting area shows pressures hospitals can face

The urgent need to free up beds takes a toll even on patients deemed fit for discharge

I was working a bank shift recently as a healthcare assistant and was halfway through a 13-hour shift when we were notified there was an OPEL alert at the main county hospital.

The OPEL (operational pressures escalation levels) framework was introduced in 2016 in the NHS as a national standard for registering emergency pressures, replacing the previous system of black and red alerts. The levels range from one to four, with four being the most serious.

The main hospital was on an OPEL four alert, with patients waiting outside in ambulances because no hospital beds

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