MP moves to reassure patients that Lincolnshire hospital services are still ‘open’ and ‘safe’

Lincolnshire MPs have been asked by NHS leaders to reassure constituents that health services are safe, despite the ongoing ‘critical incident’ at the county’s hospitals due to staff shortages.

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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 and winter challenges.

MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham told the Sleaford Standard today (Thursday): “It is my understanding that the ‘internal critical incident’ declared by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust is primarily due to high levels of staff absences given the high prevalence of the Omicron variant locally. As levels of cases in the community are high this 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.

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“Since being made aware of this incident, I have been working together with fellow Lincolnshire MPs, Health Ministers and the NHS in Lincolnshire to ensure that the Trust is being supported. 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. On Tuesday I, alongside other Lincolnshire MPs, also attended a further briefing call and update on the developing situation with local NHS leaders who have asked me to reassure constituents that services are open to those that need them and are safe.

“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, herself a consultant paedriatrician said: “I am incredibly grateful to all my NHS colleagues in Lincolnshire who are continuing to ensure the NHS is open for anyone who needs it, and who have been pushing on with the booster vaccination programme at pace recently. Residents who haven’t already done so can all help by ensuring to get boosted as soon as possible.”