Derbyshire stands down critical incident

The Derbyshire health and care system has taken the decision to stand down the critical incident as of 16:00 hours on Thursday 12 January that was initially declared at 14.32 hours on Saturday 31 December 2022.

This is after identified actions had been deployed and reductions in pressure across some services has been seen.

However, services remain under sustained and significant pressure and patients and members of the public continue to be asked to use services wisely to ensure those patients with the greatest need can access care and support.

The critical incident was called initially due to the significant and sustained demand on services during the Christmas Bank Holiday period, which then continued as we moved towards the New Year Bank Holiday weekend.

This was to help clinically prioritise care and maintain safe services for patients. During the critical incident period, some ambulance service workers took part in industrial action called by the GMB union.

The significant winter planning, and additional planning for coping with strike action, has ensured the NHS has remained open for business and been able to care for patients with greatest need.

Dr Chris Weiner, Executive Medical Director for NHS Derby and Derbyshire Integrated Care Board, and strategic gold commander for the incident, said:

“Services will continue to prioritise patients with the highest level of need and ensure that we can safely manage emergency care. We are still facing significant pressure across the health and care system and we know that upcoming industrial action over the coming weeks will also put added pressure on the system.

“Despite an improvement in waiting times for ambulances, hospital bed admissions and discharges, staff at the front line remain under significant and sustained pressure in their efforts to provide safe care. We are grateful to everyone who has taken steps to help relieve the pressure, and continue to praise our incredible teams across the health and social care sector for their efforts in keeping our citizens safe.

“We do have ongoing concerns about the forthcoming industrial action over the coming weeks, but we are reminding the public that the NHS remains open for business and people should continue to contact the NHS if they have a health concern.  NHS 111 online can help with symptom checking and guide users to the right service.

“Despite the pressure, we have been able to maintain the vast majority of operations and procedures planned over the past couple of weeks. Some patients have waited longer than we would like for their procedure and we have been determined to avoid having to cancel care for these patients. We know it can be a worrying time ahead of surgery, and we want to reassure everyone on lists that their care is a priority for us.”

Health and care services continue to work together to manage the pressure, and there remain a range of steps everyone can take to help:

What members of the public can do to help

Our teams continue to work exceptionally hard and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that despite the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if you require urgent medical help, you should continue to come forward.

Other things which everyone can do to help the NHS right now, include:

  • Only call 999 or attend accident and emergency departments when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
  • When needing urgent medical care but it’s not an emergency, visit NHS 111 online– uk – or call NHS111 for advice on how to get care at any time of day or night.
  • Utilising an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) if you have a minor illness or injury, such as sprains, fractures, minor burns, skin infections, animal bites, minor eye and head injuries, stings and bites. Urgent treatment centres/Minor Injury Unitsare available 8am-8pm in Derby, Ilkeston, Ripley, Darley Dale, Buxton, Lichfield and Tamworth and can help with care and treatment for many of the most common issues that people attend emergency departments for. They will often be able to help get the care needed more quickly than accident and emergency departments. Please only attend a UTC if you need urgent treatment for an illness or injury.
  • See a pharmacist for advice on a minor illness such as a cough or cold. Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
  • Contact your GP for symptoms that won’t go away, such as lumps, unexpected weight loss, abnormal bleeding and persistent pain.  GP practices also employ highly trained professionals such as physiotherapists, nurses, dieticians and others.
  • Check on neighbours, friends and family who  have an existing respiratory condition, to ensure they are okay and not suffering from additional wheeziness or shortness of breath. It is also important to ensure they are following their care plan with medication, inhalers and oxygen support. If you are concerned and feel you need clinical advice, use NHS 111 onlineor call 111. It is essential that they receive treatment early and seek to prevent an admission to hospital.
  • Support loved ones who are ready to leave hospital by doing six simple things:
    • Bring clothes for leaving hospital
    • Arrange access to their home or place they call home and to check on heating and food
    • Check transport arrangements
    • Ensure they have any dressings or equipment they need
    • Confirm any follow up appointments
    • Check for valuables and belongings when leaving 
  • If unable to make any NHS appointment, please contact the number on appointment letters so that it can be reallocated to another patient.
  • Please continue to treat all NHS and care staff with the respect they deserve. Our hard-working staff and volunteers are doing all they can to keep patients safe and supported.

There is a range of other steps the community can take at this time help the NHS, and further information is available at

Health and care services continue to work together following the standing down of the Critical Incident.  Measures we have taken to help manage and alleviate pressure have included:

  • Maximising all available and appropriate hospital capacity to provide beds in which to care for our patients
  • Taking additional steps to release patients from the care of ambulance crews to enable them to get back on the road to see the next patient, including extra capacity in ED and extra consultants on hand to assess the clinical needs of patients on arrival, with the aim of turning crews around in no more than 15 minutes from arrival
  • Diverting all clinically-trained staff to provide direct care and support, and cancelling all non-essential training
  • Opening more than 40 additional community-based beds to support discharge from acute hospitals.

More information about upcoming industrial action can be found on the Joined Up Care Derbyshire website and the NHS England website.