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‘Small number’ of patients being moved to North East to help NHS cope with COVID-19

A ‘small number’ of patients in intensive care in the Cumberland Infirmary are being transferred to Newcastle to help relieve pressure on the county’s NHS services.

It was revealed yesterday that the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital, declared an Operational Pressures Escalation Level 4 alert.

This, according to NHS England means the pressures on the service have escalated to an extent where organisations are unable to deliver comprehensive care.

It added: “There is increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised.”

Cumbria Crack asked the trust if patients were being moved to hospitals in the North East to help ease the pressure on the hospitals in Cumbria.

A trust spokesman said: “As part of the trust’s business continuity plans, we are transferring a very small number of patients who can be moved, in line with our usual practice.

“We are extremely grateful for their support at this time.”

Yesterday, a trust spokesman said: “Due to a significant increase in coronavirus in our community we have seen rising admissions requiring hospitalisation over the last week and in line with our pre-prepared plans we have taken escalated actions to maintain services and patient safety.

“We are extremely grateful to our staff who have been working tirelessly over the past few months with no let up and continue to do so in the interests of our patients.”

The Operational Pressure Escalation Levels are part of a prepared framework, introduced in 2016, by NHS trusts to manage their operations