Health boss reassures public over 'black alert' at hospital

A Barnsley health boss says health services “have been and always will be here for you”, after it was reported that more than 300 patients visited Barnsley Hospital’s A&E in one day.

By Danielle Andrews, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 25th June 2021, 1:40 pm

A number of residents took to social media to complain that they had struggled to book a GP appointment after the Independent reported that the hospital had issued a “black alert”, which is is issued when a hospital is “struggling or unable to deliver comprehensive care”.

However, a leading doctor at Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said that there is a number of reason why health services across the country have been busier in recent weeks, and praised residents for following guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Madahvi Guntamukkala, medical director at Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP said: “We’ve seen health services across the country get busier and busier, particularly as lockdown has been easing.

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Barnsley Hospital.

“There’s likely to be a few reasons and being able to get underneath and understand them is really helpful. It means we can have an honest conversation with people about what they can expect from our local health services and also what things we’re asking people to do to helps us, help them.

“We know the pandemic has made people more conscious of their health, sometimes more anxious about their symptoms or condition and understandably that can sometime cause worry and frustration.

“Understanding why things have got busier means we can explain how some services will still feel different for a while and why.

“Health services aren’t like shops or restaurants, we have much stricter safety measures in place understandably and so currently, bringing lots of, potentially poorly people, into a small space is a real challenge. It might feel different at the minute, it will be busier but we have been and always will be here for you.

“I would like to say that the Barnsley public have and continue to be fantastic during the pandemic. When we asked them to support the NHS and follow the guidance, they did. When we were worried that people weren’t coming forward for really serious conditions, they slowly started to come and see us.

“When we asked people to wait longer for some things so we could support others with a more urgent need, they did. That all has a knock on effect doesn’t it for individuals and how we use our health services. Our teams, wherever they work in health and care, continue to work incredibly hard to support people.

“Please continue to seek support when you have concerns, please continue to use the whole range of services from self-care for things like bites and stings or sunburn, to seeing a pharmacy for specialist advice and over the counter medicines, or making full use of 111 if you think something is urgent. These are all things we were doing before the pandemic but they really do make a difference. If we can get back to using some of these options more, people will get a quicker and better result.”