January 9, 2023 5.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

Councillors praises hospital staff during 40 hour Lincoln A&E wait

‘They were doing everything they could’

A councillor who spent 40 hours waiting for a bed in Lincoln A&E says that drastic action is needed from the government.

However, she has praised the staff who were doing “the best they can”.

City councillor Clare Smalley, who has a weakened immune system, was sent to A&E last Tuesday after developing an infection.

It wasn’t until Thursday evening that a bed at the county hospital finally came free.

The hospital trust declared a third critical incident last week as A&E was overwhelmed and they struggled to discharge health patients.

Councillor Smalley, who represents the Abbey ward in Lincoln as a Liberal Democrat, says she doesn’t blame staff for the delays.

“I knew it would be incredibly busy as they were in a critical incident at the time. The doctors and nurses were doing everything they could though,” she said.

“111 advised me to go to the UTC when I rang on Tuesday evening, and they transferred me straight to A&E. I was lucky that they were able to get renal specialists to see me there and start medication while I was waiting for a bed.

“The delays were obviously frustrating and not pleasant for the people there. Patients were taken in priority order when beds became available, which meant some people were there for a long time.

ULHT has advised patients only to attend if necessary | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“I felt sorry for the staff – they were doing their jobs as best they could and being completely professional, handing out drinks and sandwiches.

“They were realistic with timescales and how long we’d have to wait, and kept us updated on how many ambulances were queuing outside. At one point, we were told there are 100 people waiting in A&E and 56 who needed beds.

“They were trying to clear beds as quickly as they can, but they couldn’t magically find more.

“The situation is scary for someone with a long-term condition like myself. My immune system isn’t what it should be and I’ve had a kidney transplant, meaning I had to shield all the way through Covid.

“People who need emergency treatment there should still go to A&E, but there are other sources of help like GPs and pharmacies.

“It is concerning that this is the third Critical Incident in the last few weeks – will it be an ongoing situation?

“There doesn’t seem to be any answers from the government, and it’s hard to know if they’re taking it seriously. Unless something drastic happens, the situation won’t get better.”

The new UTC opened next door to the A&E department at Lincoln County Hospital. | Photo: ULHT

United Lincolnshire Health Trust have now stood down the third critical incident, but are still seeing long waits in Accident & Emergency departments.

A hospital spokesperson said: “As a trust, we continue to see an increasing demand on our urgent and emergency care services coupled with patients staying much longer in our hospitals than previously experienced.

“Despite long waits, patients who need immediate emergency care are able to be seen and looked after in our emergency departments.

“We are experiencing ever increasing pressure on our A&E departments, often with patients who have more complex needs. The impact of this is then a longer wait time for beds for new patients who need to be admitted from A&E.

“We advise all patients to ensure they are staying well this winter and to help themselves by visiting NHS 111 online, which can signpost to the relevant healthcare service. You can also access care from your local pharmacy, your GP or an Urgent Treatment Centre.”

If you’ve experienced recently long waits at Lincoln A&E, get in touch with your story on [email protected]

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