Lincolnshire hospitals trust declares ‘internal critical incident’ as A&E struggles to cope

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The trust which runs Grantham Hospital yesterday declared an ‘internal critical incident’ due to a severe shortage of A&E doctors at Lincoln A&E.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust says it is is struggling to cope with demand because of the shortage fo dcotrs.

It says it is struggling to fill rotas over the next few days and weeks and is working with NHS Improvement and senior leaders in surrounding hospitals to try and support it.

Grantham A&E has been closed overnight from August because of a shortage of staff at Lincoln and Boston A&E units. Staff from Grantham were transferred there to help.

The trust says there is a national shortage of A&E doctors, and ULHT is very much affected by this. It is overly reliant on short and long-term agency doctors to fill staff rotas and due to a recent change in national tax rules (known as IR35), the availability of agency doctors has drastically reduced.

Lincoln and Pilgrim A&Es are both affected, but Pilgrim to a lesser extent.

Dr Suneil Kapadia, ULHT medical director said: “We are working hard to make sure we maintain a safe service for our patients. We are putting in steps to change our medical model. This means doctors from other specialities will be asked to support A&E senior decision makers to diagnose and treat medical and surgical patients who come through the doors. We need help from the public too and stay away unless they need emergency health treatment.

“To help ease pressures on A&Es, I urge everyone to think twice before they go to an A&E – if it’s not serious or life threatening, you shouldn’t be there. Many illnesses can be better treated by visiting your local pharmacy, calling 111, visiting your local GP, GP out of hours service, or attending a walk in centre or a minor injuries unit.”