NHS bosses have said that ‘due to a severe shortage of A&E doctors Lincoln A&E is struggling to provide a full A&E service’.
As a result yesterday (Tuesday) an ‘internal critical incident’ was declared by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the site.
The trust says it is struggling to fill rotas over the next few days and weeks.
Boston’s Pilgrim A&E is also affected, but it says to a lesser extent.
In a statement ULHT says there is a national shortage of A&E doctors.
“We are overly reliant on short and long term agency doctors to fill staff rotas and due to a recent change in national tax rules (known as IR35), the availability of agency doctors has drastically reduced,” reads the statement.
“Lincoln and Pilgrim A&Es are both affected, but Pilgrim to a lesser extent. This is a national problem, and many other trusts are also struggling - essentially the supply of doctors is drying up.”
In a statement ULHT says it is working with NHS Improvement and senior leaders in surrounding hospitals to try to support the department.
It adds: “Our thanks go to the A&E staff and clinicians from other specialities that have helped Lincoln A&E to remain fully operational.”
Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director, said, “We are working hard to make sure we maintain a safe service for our patients. We are putting in steps to change our medical model. This means doctors from other specialities will be asked to support A&E senior decision makers to diagnose and treat medical and surgical patients who come through the doors. We need help from the public too and stay away unless they need emergency health treatment.
“To help ease pressures on A&Es, I urge everyone to think twice before they go to an A&E – if it’s not serious or life threatening, you shouldn’t be there. Many illnesses can be better treated by visiting your local pharmacy, calling 111, visiting your local GP, GP out of hours service, or attending a walk in centre or a minor injuries unit.”