Barnsley Hospital has declared a ‘black alert’ (Image: Google)

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An NHS hospital has declared a rare "black alert" as 300 patients arrived at its A&E department.

Barnsley Hospital in South Yorkshire is reportedly struggling to find beds for patients.

Internal emails seen by The Independent show the facility was forced to declare OPEL 4 Status – which means Operations Pressure Escalation Levels.

The method is used by the NHS to measure the stress, demand and pressure a hospital is under, with Opel 4 representing the high escalation level.

Opel 4 is declared when a hospital is “unable to deliver comprehensive care” and patient safety is at risk.

An email sent to staff warned of the "pretty challenging" bed situation.

It said more than 40 patients were in the emergency department and 15 of them were waiting for a bed.

By the evening, the number of patients in A&E escalated to 80 and 20 people were awaiting a bed.

The Independent reports that the high number of patients is due to A&E sickness rather than Covid-19.

Internal emails also showed that the hospital's emergency department was full this morning and 12 patients in A&E were waiting for a bed – but only two beds were available.

Due to the high number of people seeking treatment, the hospital declared Opel 4 Status.

Staff have been urged to do everything they could to discharge patients as soon as possible, including early reviews of inpatients.

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