Health Care

Hospital bosses warn of long waits at Lincolnshire A&E departments

Hospital bosses warn of long waits at Lincolnshire A&E departments

The NHS National Emergency Pressures Panel made a series of recommendations to hospitals to address the sustained pressure, including increased support from Allied Health Professionals for rehabilitation and discharge.

It says in-patient operations such as hip replacements should also be put off until February to free up doctors and beds.

Simon Evans, director of operations at ULHT, said: "As part of our winter plan we schedule fewer non-urgent and non-cancer operations so we are able to prioritise emergency patients".

The mass winter shortage comes only months after the junior doctors strike, with medics warning that A&E departments would struggle under additional pressure.

The board's office-based employees were asked to consider volunteering to help their colleagues in hospitals and GP practices by taking on cleaning and administrative roles over the next five days.

Many hospitals, including in Kent and Cornwall, have moved to the highest level of alert or escalation, known as OPEL 4, where they seek assistance from other healthcare services in the region because they can no longer deliver comprehensive care.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged the news was frustrating for affected patients but said the NHS was "better prepared for this winter than ever before".

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It has always been obvious that all but the very mildest winter pressures would stretch the NHS mightily, and so it has proved. He said there is no question the hospitals are facing real pressures at the moment.

One of the NHS's most experienced chief executives, Andrew Foster of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, told Sky News he had never seen such demand. When patients are in crowded emergency departments and staff can not actually move between patients and provide the basic level of care that's required, then safety is compromised.

In a statement, the Trust said: "A&E is for patients requiring emergency care for serious and life-threatening conditions".

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, has said many hospitals reported more than 99 per cent capacity in the week before Christmas.

"Unfortunately, to enable us to continue to provide safe, high quality care to those most in need, it is necessary for us to postpone some planned operations and clinics so our clinicians can focus on where the need is greatest. We are doing our best in extraordinarily hard circumstances".

"But I recognise for those people that have had their operations postponed this is disappointing, it's frustrating".


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