1 of 3 A & E Departments in Lincolnshire may reduce its opening hours, and implement night time closure as a result of a national shortage of emergency doctors. The Directors of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust are considering reducing the opening hours of Grantham and District Hospital due to a severe shortage of doctors and adequately trained medical professionals.

Whilst the Accident & Emergency Departments at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital in Boston are likely to remain open, a spokesman for the Trust commented that failing to take steps in response to the shortage of medical professionals “may put patients at risk”.

A spokesman for the Trust has advised that more seriously ill patients tend to be treated at Lincoln County Hospital or Pilgrim Hospital, and those hospitals have a higher number of patients attending the A&E Department than Grantham. Approximately 29,000 people attend Grantham and District Hospitals A&E Department annually, which is approximately 80 people per 24 hour period.

A final decision is yet to be made as to whether the Accident and Emergency Department at Grantham and District Hospital will face night closure, and whether any closure will be on a permanent or temporary basis.

The President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine commented that “there is a real crisis in emergency medicine as our workforce numbers are not growing fast enough to keep pace with rising numbers of patients attending A&E Departments.”

The increasing workload and overstretched staff is a clear problem, leading to overworked trainees and medical professionals and can result in patients not receiving the level of care they require. The Trust remains adamant that “the quality and safety of patient care is the number one priority”.

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