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The rush of hospital doors, beds flooding corridors, sickness running rife, waiting rooms fit to burst – these are the sights of a hospital on black alert, and it’s hitting some wards hard.
In England and Wales, various hospitals have been crippled by clogged services, under-staffing and an overflow of patients.
Indeed, the Plymouth Hospitals Trust (PHT) in Devon has confirmed that it’s been on “black alert” since early January.
But what does black alert mean? Essentially it’s a sign that hospitals are being overwhelmed by demand for their services. This could stem from staff cuts, trimmed facilities or a sudden spike in the number of sick people in a given area.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesman for the PHT said, "Since the end of December, we have faced unprecedented and sustained demand on our emergency and medical services, which has impacted right across the hospital."
However, this influx of illness could lead to one potentially lethal consequence – a lowering of hygiene standards.
It’s easy to sympathise with an overstressed and overworked medical professional. Maybe they forget to wash their hands once in the hurry-scurry of patients and treatments. But once can be enough to pass multitudes of bacteria on to the sick and susceptible.
We’ve recommended various ways to motivate staff and remind them to wash their hands, from holograms to more effective waste management bins. For any hospital feeling the strain, sticking to these cleanliness strategies could spell the difference between infection and recovery for some patients.
If you’re on black alert, our message is clear – stay on top of your hygiene requirements. It will make all the difference.
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