'Critical incident' at Lincolnshire hospitals over Covid staff shortages

Lincolnshire hospitals have declared a dangerously low Covid-19 staff shortage a “critical incident”.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) said staffing levels fell to “extreme” and “unprecedented” low levels over the weekend in a warning.

The Trust explained the incident Saturday night with a “compromised” workforce at both Lincoln County Hospital and the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, reported The mirror.

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The trust is also running Louth District Hospital. Dr. Colin Farquharson, ULHT Medical Director, said: “Due to the significant staffing pressure due to absenteeism related to Covid-19, we need to take additional steps to maintain the services.

“Our staff continue to work exceptionally hard and we want to reassure our patients and the public that despite the challenges, essential services will remain fully open to anyone who needs them, so people should keep calling for care.

“People can help us help them by getting their Covid booster vaccine to protect themselves and their families and ease pressure on health services.”

The ULHT’s warning states: “Due to an extreme and unprecedented shortage of staff, an internal critical incident has been reported across the Trust which means we are unable to maintain a secure staffing level.

“This leads to compromised care in our hospitals and the inability to maintain a number of key treatment pathways, including treatment for stroke and heart disease.

“The rapid increase in sickness-related absenteeism is the biggest factor behind this deterioration in the workforce, but also fewer banks and agencies.

“This has resulted in the workforce being stretched across all services and the staffing quota increased.”

The warning also warned that rising Covid recordings put additional pressure on the trust’s hospitals, where infections are now spreading.

Non-clinical staff working for the trust are now being asked to volunteer to help the hospitals.

NHS staff absenteeism has increased 31% in a week as warnings that health services could become overwhelmed “pretty quickly”.

The latest data shows that 24,632 Akut Trust employees in England were absent on Boxing Day due to Covid or isolation.

'Critical incident' at Lincolnshire hospitals over Covid staff shortages 1

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That is an increase from 18,829 a week earlier and about twice the number of 12,508 on December 1st.

Absences rose even higher on December 23, before the Christmas skeleton rotas began – with 27,716 people absent on the same day. On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, and Boxing Day, they then dipped slightly.

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