Hospital trust declares ‘critical incident’ leading to ‘compromised care’ due to Covid

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHSTrust has announced that ‘unprecedented’ staff shortages have ‘compromised care’ at its hospitals, including Lincoln County Hospital

Staff shortages have soared 31% in a week as an expert warned the health service could be overwhelmed “quite quickly”

Hospitals in Lincolnshire have declared a ‘critical incident’ over ‘extreme and unprecedented’ staff shortages.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was ‘unable to maintain safe staffing levels’, causing ‘compromised care’, the Sunday Times reported.

A letter from the trust said a critical incident was declared on Saturday night due to ‘compromised’ staffing levels at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital Boston.

It comes amid warnings the NHS ‘could be overwhelmed’ as staff sickness rates rocket across the country.

Absences have soared 31% in a week as an expert warned the health service could be overwhelmed “quite quickly”.

New data today shows 24,632 acute Trust staff in England were absent due to Covid illness or isolation on Boxing Day.

A letter warned that staff shortages were at an ‘unprecedented’ level



Absences have led to ‘compromised care’ at hospitals in Lincolnshire



That is a rise from 18,829 a week earlier and around double the 12,508 Covid absences on December 1.

NHS staff absences reached an even higher level on December 23, before Christmas skeleton rotas kicked in – with 27,716 people absent on the same day. They then dipped slightly on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The Lib Dems demanded Boris Johnson call an urgent COBRA meeting, as Royal College of Nursing Director for England Patricia Marquis said: “These figures are further evidence of the existing NHS staffing challenges, before any new facilities are opened.

“More beds and fewer staff must not result in patient care becoming less safe.

“Ministers cannot keep the emergency NHS staffing plans under wraps any longer. Our members need to know what could realistically be expected of them in the comings days and weeks.”

It came as a scientific advisor warned “it looks like” the NHS will be overwhelmed “quite quickly” by the Omicron Covid wave.

Professor Peter Openshaw, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), told BBC Breakfast: “I think we haven’t quite reached the threshold that was set by Government in terms of the NHS being overwhelmed.

“But it looks like that will be reached quite quickly.

“What I’m very concerned about is our NHS staff, my dear colleagues who have worked so, so hard all through the repeated waves of this infection.

“How are they going to cope?”

There were 11,452 Covid patients in England’s hospital beds at 8am yesterday – up from 7,166 on Christmas Day.

The figure is the highest since February 26.

NHS staff are being forced into isolation partly because of difficulties accessing lateral flow tests.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs the supply had been tripled for January and February, but will need to be “constrained” in the coming fortnight due to huge demand.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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