A hospital in the Highlands has declared a 'code black' crisis, but what exactly does code black mean?

Raigmore hospital has been deemed 'code black' due to rapidly rising Covid cases, with increasing hospital admissions and large numbers of staff forced to isolate. 

As the NHS Highland hospital finds itself at breaking point, here's what code black means...

What does code black mean? 

Code black is a fairly rare situation in hospitals, meaning the it is at complete capacity with no beds available for any new A&E admissions. 

Code black means that patient safety is at risk.

The general bed manager of the hospital is in charge of the declaration and informs the NHS board and local ambulance services so they know not to take patients to the hospital. 

Why is code black necessary? 

Amidst rising infection rates around the country, hospital Covid admissions have been increasing putting extra strain on hospitals which are returning to more normal service. 

With Covid more prevalent in the community, staff members are  having to isolate, meaning there is less people available to cover shifts. 

In addition, with many hospitals starting to work through the backlog of operations, they are just as busy as they were at the peak of the pandemic meaning they cannot cope with the sudden increased in cases. 

What are the Covid cases in my area?