DUDLEY Group’s boss has reported “severe pressure on services” at the borough’s main hospital.

News outlets have reported the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has declared a critical incident due to high numbers of patients needing treatment in the emergency department.

Diane Wake, chief executive of the trust, said in a statement that long wait times in the emergency department were resulting in long waits for admission to wards.

She said: “In response to severe pressure on our services, we are taking action to prioritise and maintain safe services for our patients.

“We are seeing significant demand upon all our services across the Trust, including a high number of patients waiting for treatment in our emergency department. As a result of these high numbers there are long waits in our emergency department, and ultimately longer waits for admission into our wards.

She stressed that teams have been working “exceptionally hard” and that essential services remain “fully open for anyone who needs them”. But she said patients may experience longer waits – adding that they will be prioritised for care based on clinical need.

She urged members of the public to contact 111 for urgent medical help if unsure which service they need. The 24-7 service directs patients to the best place to get help if unable to see a GP or at out of hours times.

She said: “Our staff are working tirelessly to provide the best possible care under these challenging circumstances in a safe and timely manner. Our main focus is providing care for patients who need urgent or emergency care, and those who are receiving inpatient care in our clinical sites.

“Our health and care services are continuing to work together to resolve the situation. If people need medical help, we would ask them to visit NHS111 online or use a service in the local area such as a local pharmacist or GP.”