Lincolnshire hospital trust declares new critical incident due to A&E pressures

An internal memo at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust described a "low level of discharges" since Saturday.

A Lincolnshire hospital trust has declared a critical incident due to the "significant pressures" on its emergency and urgent care services, with one patient waiting 35 hours for treatment at Lincoln County Hospital.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) first declared the incident on Wednesday 28 December.

Details of an internal memo were first made public by The Times newspaper's health editor Shaun Lintern on Twitter.

The memo described the situation at two hospitals the trust runs, with 73 patients at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and 72 patients at Lincoln County Hospital.

Of those patients, 27 and 42 at the respective hospitals were waiting for beds. The longest wait time in Boston was 24 hours, while one patient had to wait almost a day and half for medical attention in Lincoln.

In the memo, the trust accepted that the delays in the system meant that people were unable to access care in "a safe and timely manner".

In a statement, ULHT Chief Executive Andrew Morgan said: “Our hospitals are continuing to see exceptionally high levels of demand for our services, particularly in our Emergency Departments.

“Many of these individuals are very unwell and require further treatment, but there remains significant challenges in the number of available beds across our hospitals - a situation that is also reflected nationally across the NHS."

Pilgrim Hospital in Boston is one of the two specifically named in the memo.

The reasons given in the memo for the current situation included a "high number of attendances" and "low level of discharges" over the past few days.

The issue was described as being "compounded by a very challenging staffing picture".

“We continue to do all we can with partner health and care organisations to ensure care is available for those who need it and those who are medically fit for discharge can return home or to another place of care quickly and safely," said Mr Morgan.

“Our colleagues are working exceptionally hard to ensure the safe delivery of care in these challenging circumstances and I thank them for their continued efforts.”

ULHT is asking people to consider whether they actually need to go to A&E, instead pointing them towards other healthcare and advice services such as phoning NHS 111 and using GP practices and pharmacies where possible.

It's also asked family members to collect relatives due to be discharged from hospital if possible, instead of waiting for hospital transport to take them home.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.