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This morning we communicated to our staff that we are operating in an internal critical incident. This is due to the high pressure on urgent care services and increasing demand for Covid-19 beds.

We currently have 99 Covid-19 positive patients across Derriford and our three community hospitals and just under 500 staff absent for Covid-19-related reasons.

We don’t want people to be alarmed by this. We took the decision to escalate to the highest level of internal incident because this allows us to be able to take additional steps to maintain safe services for our patients and help us cope with the growing pressures.

We are running at extremely high levels of occupancy and like a number of other hospitals across the country, we are seeing huge rises in demands for our services at the moment. Attendances in our emergency department are high; there are ongoing challenges in discharging patients who are well enough to leave hospital, and we are seeing an increase in staff sickness, all of which leads to longer waits than we would like for patients to be seen and admitted.

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