Nurses recalled from leave due to high demand for hospital services

Pilgrim Hospital. EMN-141021-133457001
Pilgrim Hospital. EMN-141021-133457001

Nurses and other staff are being asked to cancel holidays and return to Pilgrim Hospital after higher than expected demand on services over the festive period.

A spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust said that the ‘typical day’ at Pilgrim saw between 130-140 patients in Accident and Emergency, but over the last few days it typically reached between 170-180, a rise of up to 40 per cent.

Boston’s A&E can only hold up to 40 people waiting in the department.

The spokesman said it was usual to see a rise in attendance at the hospital over the Christmas period as GP practices and pharmacies closed, but that this year was greater than usual - partly due to the fact it was a four day festive break.

ULHT, Lincolnshire East CCG, Lincolnshire West CCG, Lincoln South CCG and Lincolnshire South West CCG released a joint statement.

It said: “Due to the long Christmas weekend and cold weather, all parts of the NHS in Lincolnshire are currently experiencing high demand for their services. Our accident and emergency departments are seeing unprecedented numbers of patients and it is imperative that only those acute emergency patients attend A&E .

“With this increased pressure we are asking patients to think carefully and consider all options before coming to an accident and emergency department. There are a wide range of alternatives including; GP, contacting your local pharmacy, calling the NHS 111 service or attending an urgent care unit/minor injuries unit.

“With all the seasonal bugs around now, we have seen an increase in the numbers of our staff reporting short term sickness, with this in mind, ULHT is asking clinical staff on annual leave to help out by working additional hours if they can.

“We urge everyone to think twice before they go to A&E – if it’s not serious or life threatening, you shouldn’t be there.

The NHS 111 service has also seen an increase of 20,000 more calls that during the same period last year. Lincolnshire A&Es have seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of attendances over the last few days.

They are urging people to contact a range of alternative services including pharmacies, the 111 number and their GP out of hours services.

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) have also blamed snow and icy conditions for soaring demand on ‘strained’ ambulance services over the Christmas period.
The trust dealt with 5,448 more calls this season - an eight per cent rise on the same period last year.