A national shortage of emergency doctors might force an A&E in the East Midlands to temporarily close its doors at night.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), which runs the A&E at Grantham and District Hospital as well as two others in the region, said that it had been "seriously affected" by a "national shortage of appropriately trained doctors to work in A&Es".
We have reached a crisis point and we may put patients at risk if we don't act.
Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at ULHT, said the organisation had "tried to recruit in the UK and internationally".
He added: "We haven't made a final decision yet, and we hope to avoid this, but the reality is we will need to temporarily reduce the opening hours of A&E at Grantham.
"The quality and safety of patient care is the Trust's number one priority...
"We have offered premium rates to attract agency doctors whilst investing £4 million in urgent care services. Despite this, we have reached crisis point."
In response to the announcement the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) warned that a widening gap between the supply and demand for emergency medics is leading to a crisis in A&E departments across the country.
Dr Clifford Mann, president of the RECM, said: "The great efforts made by doctors and nurses to help patients in under-resourced locations sometimes is not sustainable.
"The wider picture is there is a real crisis in emergency medicine as our workforce numbers are not growing fast enough to keep pace with rising numbers of patients attending A&E Departments."