Hospital trust declares 'critical' incident after Covid sparks mass staff shortage causing 'compromised care'

A HOSPITAL Trust have declared a "critical" incident after Covid sparked a mass staff shortage, leaving medics overstretched in their wards.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was "unable to maintain safe staffing levels" leading to "compromised care" across its sites.

An alert from the Trust said the staffing levels at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital in Boston was causing the "compromised care."

The "critical" incident was announced late last night and has continued into today.

The hospitals said they are currently unable to support and staff "key pathways" – including stroke, cardiac care, and urgent care.

It's not clear if surgeries are continuing to take place during the unprecedented staff shortage caused by surging Covid infections.

But a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

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The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

In a bid to stretch staffing levels, theLincolnshire hospitals have been told to increase the number of discharges and reduce the number of new patients.

The ordeal has been caused by an increase in staff being sick and therefore unable to work, the Trust said.

The Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation alert said: "An internal critical incident was declared across the Trust last yesterday and continues into today, due to extreme and unprecedented workforce shortages meaning that we are unable to maintain safe staffing levels.

"This is resulting in compromised care across our hospitals, and an inability to maintain a number of key pathways, including those around stroke and cardiac care.

"The rapid increase in staff absent because of sickness is the largest factor in this deterioration in staffing levels, although reduced bank and agency fill is also a factor.

"This has meant that staffing levels are stretched across all services, and staffing ratios have been increased."

It continued: "It is critical that we take urgent action to focus on improving staffing levels in key areas, as well as increasing the number of discharges and reducing further admissions in the coming hours."


Non-clinical staff working for the Trust are now being asked to step up to help the hospitals.

ULHT Medical Director Dr Colin Farquharson said: “As a result of significant staffing pressures due to absence related to COVID-19, we are having to take additional steps to maintain services.

"Our staff continue to work exceptionally hard and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that in spite of the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them, so people should continue to come forward for care. 

"People can help us to help them by getting their COVID booster vaccine to protect themselves and their families and reduce pressure on health services.”

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

This comes as Covid cases have risen by 137,583 in England and Wales today as Omicron continues to spread.

A further 73 people have died from the virus in the last 24 hours – but only 789 of patients in hospital with Covid are on ventilators, data revealed.

Yesterday, Covid infections reached a record high for the fifth day in a row with 162,572 cases recorded in England alone.

But this figure seems to have dipped today.

Two days ago, 189,846 cases were recorded in the country and 189,213 the day before.

The UK has reported record numbers of cases over the festive period as demand for both PCRs and lateral flows soars.

But today's data only includes England and Wales, as Scotland and Northern Ireland's cases and deaths will be updated after the holidays.

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