A&E patients are facing longer waits as pressure piles on Lincolnshire’s hospitals, with hundreds experiencing 12-hour delays for a bed last month.
The trust says it is seeing month-on-month increases in the number of patients going to hospital needing urgent help, with patients also likely to be more seriously ill.
In March, 17,496 people attended A&E at Lincolnshire hospitals – around 2000 more than the previous month.
The long stays acutely ill people are experiencing means new patients aren’t being admitted as quickly.
There were 834 patients who endured a wait of more than 12 hours after the decision was made to admit them.
A total of 2115 people waited more than four hours.
These waits have risen consistently through the first three months of the year, according to figures published by the trust.
The number of patients who were either admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arriving fell to 61.7% in March, from 63.5% in January.
The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust declared a critical incident in April following “exceptionally high demand” and a fire at Lincolnshire hospital.
A hospital spokesperson said the trust is working hard to reduce the burden on emergency services in the face of increased pressure.
“As a trust, we are seeing an increasing demand on our urgent and emergency care services,” the spokesperson said.
“We are experiencing month on month increases in A&E attendances, and often these are also patients who are much more poorly than we have seen in recent years. The acuity of our patients results in them requiring a longer length of stay on our wards for treatment, which means less frequent discharges. The impact of this is a longer wait time for beds for those who need to be admitted.
“As a Lincolnshire system we are working really hard to ensure that we can do everything we can to reduce the burden on our emergency pathways, whilst ensuring that we can continue to offer emergency care to the people of Lincolnshire when they need it.”
The Lincolnshire trust operates hospitals in Lincoln, Boston, Grantham and Louth.
Another critical incident was declared in January after “extreme and unprecedented” staff shortages, some of which were caused by COVID-19.