United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has stepped down from a ‘critical incident’ after support arrived from the armed forces, as well as elective surgery and outpatient appointments resuming.
This is separate to the ‘major incident’ which ULHT stepped down from on Wednesday, January 12, which was caused by a water supply issue at Grantham hospital, and long wait times at A&E and for beds.
This comes after it was announced that thirty armed forces personnel will assist hospitals in the county for two weeks.
So what is the difference between a critical and major incident?
Critical incident – this is any localised incident where the level of disruption results in the organisation temporarily or permanently losing its ability to deliver critical service, patients may have been harmed or the environment is not safe requiring special measures and support from other agencies, to restore normal operating functions.
Major incident – this is any occurrence that presents a serious threat to the health of the community or causes such numbers or types of casualties, as to require special arrangements to be implemented. For the NHS this will include any event defined as an emergency.
ULHT issued a statement on Friday, January 14 which said: “Whilst our hospitals do remain in a challenging position due to high demand for urgent and emergency care services and staff shortages driven by COVID-19, improvements in both of these areas mean we are now able to move out of critical incident.
“This means we were able to step down from the critical incident yesterday (January 13).
“Elective surgery and outpatient appointments continue at our hospitals, and any cancelled over the last few weeks are being rescheduled for as soon as possible. We offer our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.
“We thank our staff who continue to work tirelessly to care for their patients and support their colleagues as we work hard to restore our services, supported by local partners, volunteers and members of the armed forces.
“We ask the public to help support us in managing the high demand for services. We ask people to only attend A&E with serious or life threatening illnesses and to seek alternative support for on-going problems or minor injuries.
“Many illnesses can be better treated by visiting your local pharmacy, calling 111 or visiting NHS 111 online, visiting your local GP, or GP out of hours services, or attending an urgent treatment centre or minor injuries unit.”