Urgent and Emergency Care Services
Emergency care is when you have a life threatening accident or illness and you have to be treated in a major hospital. Urgent care relates to less serious health problems requiring attention which can be treated by services such as pharmacies, 111, GP practices, Urgent Treatment Centres, and GP Extended Access Hub.
Emergency care is provided in A&E departments and we currently have three A&E departments at Lincoln, Pilgrim and Grantham Hospitals. For the last five years, Grantham’s A&E has had restrictions upon the conditions that can be treated at this site, for example, the ambulance service does not take patients with suspected heart attacks or stroke to Grantham. Since August 2016, Grantham’s A&E has had restricted opening hours.
Why we need to change?
Despite the efforts of our dedicated
staff, the number of patients waiting longer than four hours in A&E has steadily risen over the last four years. Our A&E departments at Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospitals are consistently failing to meet the four hour standard (from arrival to discharge or admission) and our ongoing recruitment issues reflect the national shortage of A&E consultants. Currently, only 4 of our
19 consultant posts are filled by permanently staff. Equally, only 18 of our 44 middle grade posts are filled by permanent staff. Gaps are filled with expensive locum or agency staff or not filled at all.
The current wide range of urgent and emergency care services in Lincolnshire is confusing and needs to be simplified and made easier to use.
Grantham’s A&E Department has had restricted opening hours since August 2016, due to significant medical staffing issues across the county’s A&E services
What is the ‘emerging option’?
Our emerging option is to maintain A&E services at both Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospitals and to add an Urgent Treatment Centre at both sites.
We would introduce a new Urgent Treatment Centre at Grantham Hospital to provide 24 hour, 7 day a week access to urgent care services locally. This means that the vast majority of local patients who need care quickly will be supported in Grantham as they are now. To ensure the local population receive the right urgent and emergency care, overnight, access to this Urgent Treatment Centre will be supported by NHS111,
to ensure patients are sent to the right place, first time. NHS111 will serve as the entry point to the Urgent Treatment Centre during the overnight period.
Grantham’s UTC would still be able to receive patients by ambulance. Refinements to the current access criteria will ensure that critically injured and ill patients will be cared for at their nearest A&E; treated safely and quickly by staff who have the right training and experience to give the best outcome.
This emerging option would also see the 24/7 Grantham Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre provided by Community Health Services rather than ULHT, with hospital clinicians providing specialist advice where this is required for patients.
We would also like to develop Urgent Treatment Centre
services at Louth, Stamford and Skegness Hospitals and explore options for Spalding and Gainsborough.
The benefits of this could include:
- People seen and treated more appropriately, allowing
- specialist staff in A&E departments to focus on critically ill and injured patients
- Offering urgent care for Grantham’s community 24 hours a day, with the support of other A&Es for those who need specialist care
- Across the county Urgent Treatment Centres will be
- available to diagnose and treat most of the common minor illnesses and injuries that people attend A&E for
- Increasing the number of people receiving A&E services within four hours