PRESSURE on staff at West Mid shows little sign of letting up after the hospital was again put on 'red alert' last Friday.
The Isleworth hospital was placed on the highest warning level as the cold weather continued to put the A&E department under massive strain.
It is the second time this year the hospital has been put on red alert, with the warning previously in place for four days between January 19 and January 22.
The hospital's internal alert system has three categories - green, amber and red - which are assessed three times a day, based on factors like waiting times and bed capacity. The system acts as an 'early warning' for the hospital that action needs to be taken to ensure patients are not put at risk. While under red alert, doctors face greater pressure to free up beds and move patients on to alternative care facilities.
A spokesman for the hospital said no departments were closed or appointments cancelled while it was on red alert last week.
He put the warning down to the 'extraordinary' number of patients attending A&E this winter, which is on course to exceed 100,000 by the end of March - equivalent to one case every five minutes.
Last year, 97,541 people attended the A&E department.
"We work very closely with our healthcare partners in the local community to make sure there is a smooth flow of admissions and discharges," he added.
"This includes ensuring that patients who are ready to leave the hospital are discharged safely and without unnecessary delay."
The hospital has urged people only to attend A&E if it is an absolute emergency, claiming nearly a third of patients could be better treated elsewhere, for example at their local surgery or pharmacy.