January 24, 2020 1.23 pm This story is over 51 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: What’s being done about Lincolnshire’s A&E crisis?

Emergency units are under increased demand

Hours waiting, missed targets and a department closed overnight; Lincolnshire’s A&Es have bore the brunt of the accident and emergency crisis.

As winter wears on, the pressures on hospitals across the country will continue and are not expected to let up.

This does not bode well for the trust which runs Lincolnshire’s hospitals, which, for more than half a decade, has failed to meet the four hour waiting time target and often has to urge people away from A&E.

Earlier this week, Mark Brassington, chief operating officer at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, was candid about the “significant pressures” hospitals face.

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He insisted that the departments were safe for patients, but admitted that performance levels were not where the trust wanted them to be.

But as ambulances queue at Lincoln County Hospital, no prospect of Grantham A&E being open 24/7 any time soon and poor waiting times, what is being done to stem the tide of demand?

ULHT chief operating officer Mark Brassington. Photo: Lincolnshire Reporter

Much has been written about the health service facing a winter crisis and a plan is already in place to try and deal with the pressure.

But there are more logistical steps being made.

Mr Brassington told Local Democracy Weekly that the trust hopes to expand Lincoln A&E, much like the £21.3 million plan that has been tabled for Boston.

The county’s emergency departments are not big enough to deal with the demand for patients, he said.

Grantham & District Hospital. Photo: United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

It’s something we can all imagine, arriving at A&E late at night, or any time of day, and being crammed into a unit along with patients of all kinds of injuries and illnesses.

“At the minute, we are providing care to patients in environments that we would not necessarily wish to because of the sheer volume of patients that we have in our departments,” said Mr Brassington.

But it’s going to come at a £20 million cost and will need to get the nod from the Department of Health and Social Care.

It took long enough for the government to hand money over for Boston A&E and, as local officials know, departments in Whitehall work at a glacial pace.

For now, expect the soar in demand at the county’s emergency units to go on for much longer.

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