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Norfolk and Waveney health and care system de-escalates from Critical Incident status

The Norfolk and Waveney health and care system has today officially de-escalated from Critical Incident status but remains under considerable pressure.

The system remains at OPEL (Operational Pressures Escalation Level) 4 - the highest level of alert – and health leaders continue to urge the public to play their part in helping us to help you.

Considerable work has taken place at pace and scale across Norfolk and Waveney to improve discharge and flow across our local hospitals, with COVID-19 infection rates now beginning to fall.

The news comes as new, innovative approaches are being tried and tested across Norfolk and Waveney. Discharging patients who are well enough to leave hospital is one of the most important issues we continue to focus on to help improve patient flow through our hospitals and free up capacity.

Staff across the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system worked together last week on a Multi Agency Discharge Event (MADE). These events bring together the local health and care system to support improved patient flow across the system; recognise and unblock delays and challenge and improve and simplify complex discharge processes.

Feedback from colleagues across Norfolk and Waveney has been positive and a number of new innovative ways of working have already been suggested.

Another innovation announced last week is the creation of a temporary Care Hotel, based in Norwich city-centre which will help provide temporary, short term support for those patients who are well enough to leave hospital but not able to live independently at home straight away.

Whilst huge progress has been made to enable this de-escalation to take place, it is vital that patients continue to use services both wisely and responsibly. Demand for all health and care services remains high and COVID-19 and other seasonal illnesses such as flu and norovirus continue to circulate in the community.

Cath Byford, Chief Nurse, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Staff across the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure that those who need to be seen and treated, receive their care in a timely manner.

“Despite the health and care system leaving Critical Incident status, it does not mean that health and care services are not facing pressure. It simply means that as a system, we have got to a position whereby we can more easily manage the flow of patients in a timelier way, ensuring that the flow of patients in and out of hospitals remains at a steadier pace.

“We need everyone across Norfolk and Waveney to continue to using health and care services wisely, making best use of local GP practices, pharmacies, NHS 111 and local walk-in centres. This means that at our hospitals and across the system, we can treat and care for those who are very poorly.”

Patients are reminded that if they need to be seen, the NHS is and always has been here for them. If patients are worried about their health, have something worrying or not normal for you, they should seek help.

People can also seek medical help and advice first through NHS 111 online or by phone. NHS 111 can direct you to the most appropriate place. In a serious medical emergency, such as symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 999.

Please continue to attend any pre-booked appointments unless you hear otherwise.

The public can help us by getting fully vaccinated, continuing to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces and in GP practice and other healthcare settings, and maintaining thorough hand washing practices.

Practising good hand hygiene is particularly important with cases of the winter vomiting virus circulating in the community. Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. The main symptoms are:

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Being sick (vomiting)

There's no specific cure for stomach bugs such as norovirus. You can treat yourself by resting at home and drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. For more information on norovirus, how it is spread and more, visit: Norovirus (vomiting bug) - NHS (

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