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Bedford Hospital NHS Trust on level 4 OPEL Status

February 15, 2017

Bedford Hospital is now only able to admit people who are in need of critical care after level 4 OPEL status is declared.

Karen Ward, Chief Operating Officer at Bedford Hospital said, “We are currently on level 4 OPEL status which is our most severe internal status level and means we have more demand coming through A&E than beds are available in the hospital. We are working closely with our health and social care partners across Bedfordshire to ensure we continue to deliver a safe service to patients.

Karen continues, “All patients within our A&E department are seen in order of clinical need. As we are exceptionally busy at present, we strongly encourage patients to consider whether they can access the care they need from their GP, a pharmacist or local Walk-In Centre before coming to A&E”.


What is OPEL Level 4?

  • New guidance was recently published to all Hospital Trusts on escalation in response to operational pressures
  • The new Operational Pressures Escalation Levels (OPEL) framework is a standardised system introduced and different, locally used terminology has been phased out (for e.g. black alert)
  • The new system permits a little more analysis of the operational pressures facing NHS hospitals. All Trusts are required to record any days on which they have reached any of four different Operational Pressures Escalation Levels, known as OPELs.
  • There are four OPELs with Level 4 being the highest, most critical level. Level 4 indicates that demand for a hospital’s services outstrips the capacity to provide it.
  • Further information on this framework can be found here.