Basingstoke hospital has declared a black alert after experiencing "unprecedented levels of demand".

The hospital's A&E departments are "busier than ever" and the Trust is warning patients that non-urgent care may be disrupted.

However, they have pledged that this will be kept to a minimum and patients should still attend appointments unless contacted by the hospital.

Hospitals usually declare this highest alert level when they are under such significant pressure that they cannot ‘deliver comprehensive care’ and patient care is at risk.

The hospital previously declared a black alert in January for its Covid services after a surge in admissions.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover hospitals, said: "We are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of demand across our hospitals, and our emergency departments (ED) continue to be busier than ever.

"Our staff are working incredibly hard to care for everyone who needs our help, and in order to ensure we can continue to safely care for everyone who needs urgent and emergency care, there may be some disruption to non-urgent care; however this is being kept to an absolute minimum.

“We will be in touch directly with any patients affected by this, all other patients should continue to attend their appointments as planned.

“This is never a decision taken lightly, and is only a temporary measure. We are asking members of the community to help us by thinking about the best way to get the treatment you need; only come to ED in an emergency, consider visiting your local pharmacy and use to help find the right service for you.

“Remember we are always here for you – always go to the emergency department for anything urgent or life threatening.”

The number of Covid patients that HHFT is dealing with is markedly down on January.

As of July 20, there were 31 Covid patients at HHFT, with two on ventilators.

Eleven patients were admitted with Covid on the most recent day data is available from, which was July 18.

At its January peak, HHFT was caring for 249 Covid patients.

What is a black alert?

Hospital trusts use Operational Pressures Escalation Levels (OPEL) to help with "managing capacity and patient throughput at a time of excess demand and/or other operational pressures".

When a trust reaches OPEL 4, also known as 'black alert', it means that it is “unable to deliver comprehensive care” and patient safety is at risk, according to the National Health Executive.