United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has, like a number of other trusts across the country, declared an ‘internal critical incident’ and is facing pressure primarily due to the Omicron variant of coronavirus resulting in high levels of staff absences (about 1 in 12) due to infection or isolation after close contact with positive cases, as well as other covid and winter challenges.
The MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham told the Sleaford Standard today (Thursday): ‘It is my understanding that the ‘internal critical incident’ reported by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust is primarily due to high levels of staff absences being given the high prevalence of the Omicron variant locally. As community case levels are high, this leads to more isolation and testing among NHS staff, with NHS staff also having stricter isolation (compared to to their professional life) than others because they are caring for vulnerable people.
“Since being made aware of this incident, I have worked with other Lincolnshire MPs, health ministers and the Lincolnshire NHS to ensure the Trust is supported. I have highlighted the importance of the availability of PCR and lateral flow testing for local NHS staff to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in order to keep staff at work. On Tuesday, alongside other Lincolnshire MPs, I also attended a further conference call and update on developments with local NHS leaders who asked me to reassure voters on that services are open to those who need them and are safe.
“It is also important that longer-term solutions for the training, recruitment and retention of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in Lincolnshire are considered, such as through the new Lincoln Medical School and will continue to work with local leaders on this. ”
Dr Johnson, herself a consultant paediatrician, said: ‘I am extremely grateful to all of my NHS colleagues in Lincolnshire who continue to ensure the NHS is open to all who need it and who have continued the program booster vaccination at the pace recently. Residents who haven’t already can all help out by making sure they get boosted as soon as possible.