All non-urgent children’s operations have been cancelled at Boston Pilgrim Hospital due to a staffing shortage.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital, confirmed staff were being redeployed to assist in the hospital’s A&E department.
Nationally, the NHS is reporting a shortage of trained children’s doctor’s and nurses and that hospitals in Lincolnshire are “seriously affected” by the issue.
Boston Prilgrim has had to close a number of beds in order to ensure other parts of the hospital are safely staffed.
Affected patients are being informed of any cancellations and planned operations are likely to be rescheduled to Lincoln County Hospital.
Michelle Rhodes, Director of Nursing at ULHT, said: “We saw and treated more people in our A&E departments than in any other previous December, and January was among the busiest on record. Attendances are 5% higher than last winter.
“Due to the ongoing difficulty of recruiting doctors and nurses, at really busy times Pilgrim A&E struggles to provide a timely A&E service.
“This has resulted in our inability to see, treat and admit patients as quickly as we would like. The reality is that at times we don’t have as many staff on shift as we would like although our staff remain caring and compassionate.
“We don’t always have enough paediatric nurses to support A&E and provide emergency and non-urgent care on the children’s wards 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are working hard to make sure we maintain safe A&E and paediatric services at Pilgrim hospital for our patients. To focus our staff to where they are most needed, in the short term, we have reduced the number of inpatient paediatric beds at Pilgrim so we can free up nurses from the children’s ward to support A&E staff to care for ill children who attend A&E.
“Unfortunately this means we have had to temporarily stop all planned (non-urgent) children’s surgery at Pilgrim.
“To further boost nursing numbers in Pilgrim’s A&E, we have also released advanced care practitioners from other services and we are trying to appoint more agency nurses.
“We want to reassure people that all patients who attend A&E are triaged and those with the most serious conditions are prioritised.
“Children whose operations have been cancelled will be rebooked in for routine operations at Lincoln.
“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 minor injuries unit.
“If people do come to A&E and it is not an emergency they will have a long wait as we will prioritise the sickest patients”.