Lincolnshire Health Services overwhelmed as Covid patients triple

The number of critically ill Covid patients requiring hospital treatment has tripled in the past month in Lincolnshire.

The resurgence is one of the health boss’ big concerns.

John Turner, chief executive of the NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board, said health services were “stretched dramatically” due to the latest wave of coronavirus.

John Turner, chief executive of the NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board. Photo courtesy of Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust. (17042975)

In a meeting in front of the East Lindsey District Council wrap-up committee, he described some of the other issues facing hospitals – as well as some positive news.

Increase in the number of Covid patients

“We had just under 90 Covid patients hospitalized on Monday morning. It’s down from over 100 last week, but if you look at last month we were over 20 or 30,” he told the committee.

“Just under 10% of beds are occupied by Covid patients. There is a real concern about capacity, particularly about the number of employees furloughed with Covid.

“They obviously cannot enter the patient areas while they test positive.

“All of our services are greatly expanded.

“The JCVI has also issued guidance for fall recalls for the over 50s and certain other groups, so we are preparing for this campaign.”

Ambulance delays

“There have been a lot of reports about delays in the transfer of ambulances, when they line up outside hospitals to offload patients into A&E.

“Lincolnshire has had problems with the transfer of ambulances as much as anywhere else in the country. The fundamental problem is that our hospitals are so full of patients.

Staff shortages

“There are labor shortages in all NHS professions across the country.

“Lincolnshire has disproportionately higher levels of vacancies meaning they need back-up and agency staff.

“Our numbers are likely to be worse than the national average.

“The ULHT has been working for several years to increase permanent staff and reduce temporary staff, so they are moving in the right direction.

“The medical school is one of them.”

And the good news…

“The CQC and NHS England removed ULHT from special quality measures earlier this year, which is certainly a boost.

“A tremendous amount of impressive work has gone into resolving long-standing issues within the Trust.

“There is still a long way to go and we will continue to build on the work.

“A CQC improvement action plan is used to guide changes.”

Amid a shake-up of services in other parts of the county, he also assured councilors that nothing was planned for Louth Hospital, saying it was a ‘vital and important asset ” for Lincolnshire.

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