Intended for healthcare professionals


A third of acute care trusts raised alerts over serious problems last month

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 06 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j102
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

Around a third of acute care NHS trusts in England raised alerts last month that they were either close to being unable to deliver comprehensive care or had high potential of putting patient care and safety at risk because of winter pressures.

The revelations came on 6 January in a blog published by the health think tank the Nuffield Trust,1 which has been analysing performance data issued by NHS England.2 The data include details recorded under a new system called the operational pressures escalation level (OPEL) framework.3

The new system, which replaced the “red” and “black” alerts system, allows more analysis of the operational pressures facing NHS hospitals in winter. Trusts are required to record which of four different …

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