Grantham Hospital bosses are urging people not to go to A&E as the emergency department and other wards have come under unprecedented pressure over Christmas and the New Year.
In the four days up to Wednesday, 227 people went to A&E at Grantham, and wards are also full, putting the hospital and staff under strain.
The hospital says much of this pressure could be relieved because many of those people who are turning up at A&E could be treated elsewhere. Some people have been going to the A&E department hoping to be treated for coughs, colds and earache.
Garry Marsh, deputy director for operations at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), said: “Winter is traditionally a busy time for the NHS but due to the four-day Christmas weekend and cold weather, like all our hospitals, Grantham Hospital is experiencing high demand for all urgent care services.
“All staff at Grantham Hospital are coping really well and working hard. Thanks to all the fantastic staff and all health and social care agencies working together providing the best care, we were able to open more beds and are now discharging more patients home or to other services.
“I want everyone to think twice before they go to A&E – if it’s not serious or life-threatening, you shouldn’t be there. Some people are visiting A&E with minor ailments such as earaches, coughs and colds. This adds to the pressure on this valuable service during the winter months. Only attend A&E or call 999 with a real emergency such as serious trauma, suspected stroke or heart attack. Leave A&E for those who really need it.”
Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the ULHT say that due to the long Christmas weekend and cold weather, all parts of the NHS in Lincolnshire are experiencing high demand for their services.
A spokesman said: “Our accident and emergency departments are seeing unprecedented numbers of patients and it is imperative that only those acute emergency patients attend A&E. With this increased pressure, we are asking patients to think carefully and consider all options before going to an accident and emergency department.”
Patients are urged to consider alternatives including their GP, local pharmacy, calling the NHS 111 service or attending an urgent care unit/minor injuries unit.