What is the OPEL System?
The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom uses the Operational Pressures Escalation Levels (OPEL) system to monitor and manage the pressure on its services. The system was introduced in 2015 and has been updated over the years to reflect changes in the NHS. This is one of the many systems which drive the compliance reporting to ensure that hospitals, Trusts and affiliate organisations are aligned in ways in which they manage capacity, incidents and patient care throughput. This system is used to set out the procedures to effectively manage day to day variations in demand across the health and social care system within a NHS hospital, Trust or affiliate organisation.
The Different levels of OPEL;
- At OPEL 1, there is a low level of pressure on NHS services, and the system is functioning normally.
- At OPEL 2, there is moderate pressure, and healthcare facilities may need to take additional steps to manage demand and capacity.
- At OPEL 3, there is a high level of pressure, and the system may need to implement additional measures such as canceling elective surgeries or diverting patients to other facilities.
- At OPEL 4, there is severe pressure, and the system is at risk of breaking down.
- At OPEL 5, there is a critical level of pressure, and the system is unable to deliver comprehensive care.
The Importance of OPEL Levels;
One of the key benefits of the OPEL system is that it helps healthcare providers make decisions based on a consistent understanding of the situation.
By using the same terminology and criteria to assess pressure levels, healthcare providers can better coordinate their response to the situation.
The OPEL system also helps healthcare providers anticipate and prepare for periods of increased demand.
By monitoring the situation and escalating the level of pressure as needed, healthcare providers can take steps to manage capacity and ensure that patients receive the care they need.