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‘OPEL 4’ declared at RLI due to increasing pressures

7 September 2022

  • Quality and safety

Due to increased pressures at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, the Trust has taken the decision to escalate to OPEL 4 at this site - the highest level of internal escalation. This allows us to be able to take additional steps to maintain safe services for our patients and help us cope with the growing demands.  

Declaring OPEL 4 enables us to bring all our partners in Lancashire and South Cumbria together to focus on one thing - the safe and timely care of all of our patients.  

As always, patient safety must take priority and we need to take action to make sure that those who are more clinically urgent get the help they need as quickly as possible. There are some immediate actions being taken by Trust teams and our partners, including: 

  • Utilising all alternative options to the Emergency Department (ED) including Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC), Surgical Emergency Ambulatory Care (SEAC), Gynaecology Assessment Unit (GAU) and the Priority Assessment Discharge Unit (PADU). 
  • Community colleagues focussing on admission avoidance activities 
  • Pharmacy colleagues supporting discharge lounges to enable faster transfer of patients from ward beds to create the capacity to decompress ED 
  • Seeking support from local place-based partners and ICB systems 
  • Working with colleagues from Blackpool Victoria Hospital (BVH), Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust (LSCFT) to expedite transfer of patients in UHMB beds to tertiary care beds 

What can you do to help?

If you are not contacted directly, please continue to turn up for your appointment. Please also contact the number on your appointment letter if you are no longer able to make your appointment so it can be reallocated to another patient. 

Our teams continue to work exceptionally hard; and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that in spite of the challenges faced, essential services 
remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if you require urgent medical help, please continue to come forward. 

The public can help us manage these periods of demand by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services, and only attending A&E for serious accidents and emergencies. If you are unwell, visit NHS 111 online for 24/7 advice about the most appropriate care for your needs. 

Scott McLean
Chief Operating Officer