Grantham Hospital has missed its A&E waiting target by a wide margin while it has gone on black alert.
Only 81.8 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in the past week. The Government has set a target of 95 per cent.
Grantham Hospital is also on black alert as it struggles to cope with a large number of patients. Black alert, or a level four alert, is the highest level a hospital can go which means it will look at emergency steps to free up capacity, including postponing surgeries and opening day-only units overnight.
But the hospital says it is not turning people away and says it has not declared a ‘major incident’ where steps can include diverting ambulances so no emergency patients arrive.
Michelle Rhodes, director of operations at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “As is being seen throughout the country, ULHT has seen an increase in the number of A&E attendances over Christmas and New Year. In the last week, 493 patients attended A&E at Grantham, which is 12.3 per cent higher than the previous week. There is a correlation between high demand and a decline in how quickly we can see people. The rise in demand is also making it more difficult to discharge medically fit patients quickly, as support in the community is also very stretched. This, of course, has a knock-on effect for A&Es.
“We ask people to only attend A&E with serious or life threatening illnesses and to seek alternative support for on-going problems or minor injuries. Those who attend with minor conditions will still be treated, but potentially will have long waits.”
Speaking on the black alert, a hospital spokesman said: “We are on level four. We are very busy and staff are doing all they can to alleviate the pressure. We have not declared a major incident whereas other trusts have, but we are still very, very busy.”
The trust told the Journal last week that people had been turning up at A&E in Grantham with coughs, colds and earache.
Despite the problems the hospital is facing, numerous Journal readers showed their support for the hospital on Facebook. Many of them are former patients whose experience at the hospital was very good. Go to Facebook.com/granthamjournal