The number of COVID patients in hospital have tripled in the last month in Lincolnshire.
The resurgence is one of the big concerns for the health boss.
John Turner, the Chief Executive of the NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board, said health services were “significantly stretched” due to the latest coronavirus wave.
In a meeting addressing East Lindsey District Council’s Overview Committee, he outlined some of the other problems that hospitals were facing – along with some positive news.
Rising number of COVID patients
“We had just under 90 COVID patients in hospital as of Monday morning. That is down from well over 100 last week, however if you look to last month, we were ticking over at 20 or 30,” he told the committee.
“Just under 10% of beds are being occupied by COVID patients.
“There is a real concern over capacity, particularly about how many staff are off with COVID. They obviously can’t come into patient areas while they’re testing positive.
“All of our services are significantly stretched.
“The JCVI has also issued advice for autumn boosters for over 50s and some other groups, so we are gearing up for that campaign.”
“There have been a lot of news stories on ambulances handover delays, when they queue outside hospitals to offload patients in A&E.
“Lincolnshire has had issues with ambulance handover as much as anywhere else in the country.
“The fundamental problem is that our hospitals are so full of patients.”
“There are workforce shortage in all professions in NHS across the country. Lincolnshire has disproportionately greater levels of vacancies, meaning they need loccum and agency staff.
“Our figures are likely to be worse than the national average.
“ULHT has been working for several years to increase permanent staff and reduce agency staff, so they are moving in the right direction. The medical school is part of this.”
And the good news…
“The CQC and NHS England took ULHT out of special measures for quality earlier this year, which is certainly a boost.
“A huge amount of impressive work has gone into addressing long-standing issues at the Trust.
“There is still a way to go, and we’ll keep building on the work. A CQC improvement action plan is being used to guide changes.”
No changes to Louth hospital
Amid a shake-up of services in other parts of the county, he also assured councillors that nothing was planned for Louth hospital, saying it was a “vital and important asset” for Lincolnshire.