Lincolnshire hospitals declared a new critical incident due to pressures on A&E departments, with one patient left waiting for 35 hours in Lincoln and another for 24 hours in Boston.
The trust is urging patients to only use emergency services for genuine needs, and to seek alternatives such as GPs and NHS 111 where possible.
They are also asking family members, friends and carers to collect patients who are being discharged as soon as possible to help free up hospital beds.
To tackle the issue, some staff have been redeployed to other areas, and the trust strengthened infection control measures, including bringing back mask-wearing across all areas of the hospital.
ULHT Chief Executive Andrew Morgan said on Thursday morning: “Our hospitals are continuing to see exceptionally high levels of demand for our services, particularly in our emergency departments.
“Many of these individuals are very unwell and require further treatment, but there remains significant challenges in the number of available beds across our hospitals, a situation that is also reflected nationally across the NHS.
“We continue to do all we can with partner health and care organisations to ensure care is available for those who need it and those who are medically fit for discharge can return home or to another place of care quickly and safely.
“Our colleagues are working exceptionally hard to ensure the safe delivery of care in these challenging circumstances and I thank them for their continued efforts.”
Shaun Lintern, Health Editor at The Times, shared an internal ULHT document on Twitter on Wednesday which outlined the pressure on A&E and “low level of discharges” over the previous four days.
The document said that as of Wednesday morning there had been 73 patients at Boston Pilgrim A&E, with 27 waiting for beds and one patient waiting more than 24 hours, while at Lincoln there had been 72 patients, with 46 waiting for beds and a longest wait of 35 hours.
The trust’s memo said the attendance and discharge figures were “compounded by a very challenging staffing picture” and an increase in flu and Covid-19 cases.
🚨 BREAKING: @ULHT_News has declared a critical incident with a 24 hour A&E wait at Pilgrim Hospital, in Boston, and a 35 hour wait at Lincoln County A&E.
The trust is planning to re-deploy some staff to struggling areas and has brought back mask wearing. All sounds very grim: pic.twitter.com/WxEUdXcFRw
— Shaun Lintern (@ShaunLintern) December 28, 2022