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Internal critical incident declared by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust due to "extreme and unprecedented" staff shortages

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An internal critical incident was declared by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust on New Year's Day due to "extreme and unprecedented" staff shortages.

This shortage means that the trust, which runs Grantham and District Hospital, is "unable to maintain safe staffing levels".

Yesterday evening, Shaun Lintern, health editor at the Sunday Times, tweeted a letter sent to ULHT staff informing them of the internal critical incident.

The letter confirms that the incident was declared on Saturday night due to "compromised staffing levels across multiple areas of Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospital", combined with "pressure" on the urgent care pathway.

It was also confirmed that "the rapid increase in staff absent because of sickness is the largest factor in this deterioration in staffing levels, although reduced bank and agency fill is also a factor".

Also, it was said that the increasing number of patients testing positive for Covid-19 in the trust's hospitals has "put pressure" on ULHT sites.

Grantham Hospital (53401175)
Grantham Hospital (53401175)

As a result of this, the letter stated that it is "critical that we take urgent action to focus on improving staff levels in key areas, as well as increasing the number of discharges and reducing further admissions in the coming hours".

ULHT medical director, Dr Colin Farquharson said: “As a result of significant staffing pressures due to absence related to Covid-19, we are having to take additional steps to maintain services.

"Our staff continue to work exceptionally hard and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that in spite of the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them, so people should continue to come forward for care."

The letter confirmed that staff from all areas are being asked to offer their support "to improve the staffing position", while redeployment of some members of staff from non-clinical directorates has already begun and will expand next week.

The letter also said that "consideration will be made in the coming days to standing down some areas of service to support urgent and emergency care and urgent pathways over the next week".

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