The trust in charge of Lincolnshire’s hospitals is reminding patients that it is running a reduced A&E service due to a severe shortage of A&E doctors.
As revealed yesterday during a Lincolnite interview with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust Chief Executive Jan Sobieraj, the trust has declared an internal critical incident.
The trust has admitted it is struggling to fill rotas over the next few days and weeks.
Teams are looking to NHS Improvement and senior leaders for support in filling the shifts.
In a statement issued on Thursday, April 6, the trust added: “Our thanks go to the A&E staff and clinicians from other specialities that have helped Lincoln A&E to remain fully operational.”
COE Jan Sobieraj told The Lincolnite yesterday the trust had felt the effects of a national shortage of A&E doctors and is still 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, 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.”
“Disappointed and concerned”
Member of Parliament for Lincoln Karl McCartney has voiced his unease over the news on the morning of Thursday, April 6.
“I am of course disappointed and concerned to learn that Lincoln A&E is struggling to provide a full service at the current time.
“However, I have received assurances, personally, overnight from the Chief Executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals’ NHS Trust that they are working with both NHS Improvement and senior leaders in surrounding hospitals to ensure Lincoln A&E remains fully operational in both the immediate and near future.
“In the meantime, I would ask all patients and potential patients in Lincoln and Lincolnshire who do not need emergency or lifesaving treatment to use all available alternatives to A&E.
“This will help our local NHS to focus on patients with the greatest health needs at this point in time.”
Watch the interview with Jan Sobieraj below.