United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust declares critical incident due to 'exceptionally high' demand

Lincoln County Hospital was hit by a fire in March. Credit: PA

Four Lincolnshire hospitals have declared a critical incident after "exceptionally high" levels of demand.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it would prioritise urgent treatment at its sites in Boston, Lincoln and Grantham.

The trust's chief executive, Andrew Morgan, said a recent fire which shut the emergency department at Lincoln County Hospital and the continuing impact of Covid-19 had reduced capacity.

He said: "We are continuing to work with our system partners to prioritise those in most urgent need of hospital treatment and urge people to get medical help when they need it for non life-threatening issues by using NHS 111 online.

"Despite the current demand, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if you require emergency medical help, please continue to come forward."

A fire on March 29 closed the A&E department at Lincoln County Hospital. Credit: PA

Lincoln County Hospital's A&E department was closed for 48 hours after an arson attack on March 29. The fire caused extensive damage to the interventional radiology sterile procedures room, and the X-ray, CT and MRI imaging suites.

A 56-year-old man was charged with arson recklessly endangering life and is awaiting a court hearing.

The critical incident comes after a number of other hospitals faced similar problems.

Last week, bosses at Chesterfield hospital said they were struggling to keep patients safe, as six times as many staff were off sick than the previous month.

On 6 April, six hospitals across West Yorkshire and Harrogate also warned people to stay away from emergency departments except for in "genuine, life-threatening situations", after a surge in numbers left some patients waiting for up to 12 hours.