Health chiefs say they have taken a number of steps to ensure Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital can cope with the impact of the winter weather.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the Sibsey Road site, said it is experiencing a high demand for beds and A&E services but revealed it has taken steps to cope with the strain as temperatures plummet.
A spokesman told The Standard that it has introduced a new referral system to try to get support to patients in the community early so they can avoid the need to go to A&E and free up beds.
The trust’s Ambulatory Emergency Care service also aims to treat people within a day to prevent them needing to stay at the Pilgrim if they can be fast tracked. Bosses are also calling on the support of charities to help speed up the process of sending people home from hospital.
A spokesman also revealed: “We are working with GPs within the emergency department and out of hours to assess and treat patients with less serious conditions. We have also introduced seven day working for physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help with the recovery process for patients.
“We are in the process of recruiting 14 acute care practitioners within the A&E department at Pilgrim Hospital. They are highly experienced, advanced nurses who will bring additional skills to the department. They start joining the trust this month.”
On top of that a ‘nurse navigator’ will also be employed to meet patients before they book in at reception to point them in the right direction. The trust will also deploy more medical staff and porters in evenings.
The College of Emergency Doctors, which represents A&E doctors, warned this could be the worst winter yet for the strain on hospitals and raised ‘grave concerns’.
A spokesman added: “We are asking members of the public to help us during this busy time and only use A&E if absolutely necessary and to call NHS 111 24-hours a day or seek advice from a GP or local pharmacist.”