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Better information is needed on scale of winter pressure, experts say

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k103 (Published 08 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k103
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

The system for informing the public and the media of pressures that hospitals are facing over winter needs to be improved, experts have said.

In 2016 NHS England introduced “OPELs” (operational pressures escalation levels) to replace the various methods, such as “black alerts,” that hospitals used to report when they were in difficulty.

OPEL 1 means that a hospital trust is “meeting anticipated demand within available resources” and OPEL 2 that a trust is “starting to show signs of pressure,” while levels 3 and 4 correspond …

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