Hospital on ‘black alert’...but no major incident declared

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
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The trust which runs Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital has said it is on ‘black alert’ - but has not declared a ‘major incident’ over the pressures on A&E departments.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has said it has reached the highest of four levels that reflect how busy they are - and asked people only to attend A&E if absolutely necessary.

It had been incorrectly reported that they had followed several other hospitals in the country by declaring a ‘major incident’ over the current strain on resources.

The Standard has been told that this status, normally reserved for the aftermath of a one-off serious incident, has not been declared.

A spokesman said Lincolnshire hospitals are busier than usual – even for winter which is traditionally the busiest time of the year.

They said this is for a number of reasons although felt it was mainly down to the aftermath of the long Christmas weekend, cold weather, and worsening of people’s chronic conditions.

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director for ULHT, said: “Lincolnshire’s health services are under pressure in the winter but this is especially true of our A&E departments. I want all patients who go to A&E with serious illnesses or injuries to be seen and treated as quickly as possible. Patient safety is never compromised and patients who are very sick are always prioritised. Those who attend with minor conditions will still be treated, but potentially will have long waits when the department is busy.

“A&E doctors and GPs receive very different training so hospital doctors aren’t always best to help treat minor, chronic or long-term conditions - GPs are. I urge everyone to think twice before they go to A&E – if it’s not serious or life threatening, you shouldn’t be there”.

People are asked to call the 111 number in the first instance.

More information on non-emergency healthcare services is available at www.choosebetterlincs.co.uk or see www.nhs.uk for list of pharmacies.