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Norfolk NHS critical incident warning withdrawn - but officials say pressure still 'considerable'



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A critical incident for health services in Norfolk has been scaled down this morning.

The alert was issued three weeks ago amid what health chiefs described as "unprecedented" pressure amid rising rates of coronavirus infection and hospitalisation.

But health chiefs have warned demand remains "considerable", despite the de-escalation move.

Cath Byford, chief nurse for the Norfolk and Waveney NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said today: “Despite the health and care system leaving Critical Incident status, it does not mean that health and care services are not facing pressure.

“It simply means that as a system, we have got to a position whereby we can more easily manage the flow of patients in a timelier way, ensuring that the flow of patients in and out of hospitals remains at a steadier pace.

“We need everyone across Norfolk and Waveney to continue to using health and care services wisely, making best use of local GP practices, pharmacies, NHS 111 and local walk-in centres.

“This means that at our hospitals and across the system, we can treat and care for those who are very poorly.”

The CCG says the region's health system remains at OPEL (Operational Pressures Escalation Level) 4 - the highest level of alert.

In recent works, health and care institutions have taken part in a multi-agency exercise which aimed to improve discharge processes and prevent unnecessary delays.

A temporary care hotel has also been set up in Norwich to provide short-term support for patients who are well enough to leave hospital but cannot live independently at home immediately.

Ms Byford added: “Staff across the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure that those who need to be seen and treated, receive their care in a timely manner.”

Patients are being urged to keep attending pre-arranged appointments as scheduled, unless they are told otherwise.



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