A&E staff struggling to cope with demand in Lincolnshire

A&E staff struggling to cope with demand in Lincolnshire

A&E staff are struggling to cope with the demand in Lincolnshire hospitals

It has been reported that patients in Lincolnshire’s A&E departments are waiting for “long periods” in ambulances and on trolleys as hospital staff struggle to cope with demand.

A senior member of A&E staff at a hospital in North East Lincolnshire said:

“We simply do not have the necessary staff or facilities to cope with the increasing demand. The delays are having a circular effect; they have had a knock-on effect on handovers, meaning that some patients are stuck between departments for long periods, and that some patients are developing further complications such as pressure sores.”

Another stated that:

“A&E is surviving due to the dedication of the staff alone. It’s run on the good will of those working the shifts by staying additional unpaid hours.We rarely take breaks because, as we are severely understaffed, this would put patients in danger. This isn’t something new and I don’t see it changing soon . Many of us who came into this job because we care are now leaving it, not because we no longer care, but because we feel defeated by the system that is failing not only patients but us as well.”

It is alleged that some patients have been stuck in the back of ambulances for more than an hour-and-a-half. This has prevented paramedic crews from responding to other calls.

In a recent report, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated Boston and Lincoln hospitals A&E departments as inadequate. In January’s subsequent inspection, Boston Pilgrim Hospital and Lincoln County Hospital were rated as “requires improvement.”

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust responded by saying that it was “trying to sort it out”.

Bernadette Hanney, CQC head of Hospital Inspection, said: “Some patients were on trolleys for long periods of time, and that sort of thing we should be able to prevent.”

The report said that patients had also had “their dignity compromised” because they had to be treated so publicly and in view of other people, in turn, causing generalised anxiety and discomfort.

It also expressed concerns over staffing, and that children were having to share waiting areas with patients who were aggressive, violent, or distressed.

Andrew Morgan, chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, has apologised to patients.

“We are trying to sort it out, but we have two emergency departments which are not fit for purpose, size-wise,” he said.

On the subject of ambulance handovers, Mr Morgan said: “It takes so long because when the department is absolutely full we are unable to physically take the patients off.”

He said the trust had made some improvements, but that there is certainly more work to be done.

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