The trust which runs Gloucestershire’s hospitals has declared a critical incident due to “higher levels” of demand on emergency services.
The NHS foundation trust said despite additional staffing it was taking longer for patients to be seen at Gloucestershire Royal’s A&E department.
In a leaked memo to staff, it said with the “unprecedented” demand in the last three days it would take a “Herculean effort” to improve the situation .
The cause of the demand is not known.
Critical incident status allows the organisations’ leaders permission to clear their diaries and work together to try to resolve the situation.
In a statement, Dr Rachael De Caux, the trust’s chief operating officer, said it was “confident” the temporary changes it had made were “making our services safer”, the local Democracy Reporting Service said.
“Higher levels of demand than we had predicted, combined with new ways of working in response to Covid-19, have put considerable pressure on the urgent and emergency care system in Gloucestershire in recent days,” she said.
“Despite additional staffing, these combined factors mean it is taking longer for individual patients to be seen in our A&E department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.”
She said people should only attend A&E if their condition was “serious or life-threatening”.
“Our focus is now on improving waiting times in the department whilst working closely with system partners to reduce demand for hospital care by ensuring that patients are seen outside hospital wherever appropriate so only those who need specialist hospital care attend A&E.”