United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has, like a number of other Trusts across the country, declared an ‘internal critical incident’ and is facing pressures primarily as a result of the Omicron variant of coronavirus leading to high levels of staff absences (around 1 in 12) due to infection or isolation after being in close contact with positive cases, as well as other covid challenges.
Dr Johnson said: “The calling of an ‘internal critical incident’ is a measure which enables the Trust to receive additional support and take additional measures to ensure good patient care.
“I am working together with fellow Lincolnshire MPs, Health Ministers and the NHS in Lincolnshire to ensure that the Trust is being supported in their work in what is usually a more difficult period for the NHS through the winter months. “I am incredibly grateful to all my NHS colleagues in Lincolnshire who are continuing to provide vital care to people in our county in these challenging times, and who have been pushing on with the booster vaccination programme at pace recently. I would also like to reassure constituents that NHS services are available to you if you need them.”
But she added: “We have significant pressures on the Trust as high levels of cases in the community leads to more isolation and testing amongst NHS staff, with the NHS workforce also having more stringent isolation (in relation to their work life) than others as they are caring for vulnerable people.
“With regards to short term provisions, I have raised the importance of the availability of both PCR and Lateral Flow Tests for local NHS staff with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to keep staff at work. I, alongside other Lincolnshire MPs, will also attend a further briefing call and update on the developing situation today with local NHS leaders. It is also important that longer term solutions to the training, recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in Lincolnshire are being looked at such as through the new Lincoln Medical School and I will continue to work with local leaders on this.”
Dr Johnson said: “In the meantime, while it is encouraging that 80 per cent of the eligible population in Lincolnshire have received their booster vaccinations, residents who haven’t already done so can all help by ensuring to get boosted. It is welcome that the number of patients in Lincolnshire hospitals with coronavirus is considerably lower than last year with 74 Covid-19 patients as of December 31 2021 compared to 205 patients on January 1 2021, despite much higher case rates in the community. Those vaccinated with a booster are much less likely than those unvaccinated to be admitted to hospital, demonstrating the effectiveness of the vaccine and highlighting the need for everyone to get their jabs as soon possible.”
Residents are being urged to go online or dial 111 for medical assistance to ease the pressure on Lincolnshire hospitals and surgeries.
The appeal comes from the Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust.