Lincolnshire

‘Particularly difficult’ year as health bosses outline winter plan

Health bosses said it has been a “particularly difficult 12 months” for the service as they outlined plans to cope with a tough winter period.

Officials said the whole system has been under pressure throughout last winter and this past summer.

A record number of patients attended Lincolnshire’s emergency departments due to the heatwave which increased demands on hospitals.

From April to August 2018, hospitals recorded 65,183 attendances at emergency departments across the county.

Now, bosses have outlined plans to help the service cope going into the winter period.

Ruth Cumbers, urgent care programme director for Lincolnshire, said there had been “pressure” for a while.

“We have really felt the pressure from the public,” she said.

“The system has been in a very difficult position for a long time now.

“But we are not doing anything that no-one else is doing and it’s been a particularly difficult 12 months across the whole system.”

Boston Pilgrim Hospital. Picture: Steve Smailes

She told councillors on the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire that there is a plan in place to tackle the winter period.

It includes the use of ASAPLincs, an app designed to divert patients to more appropriate care, and an initiative called Home First which will look to treat people in their homes.

Other moves included a recent investment by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust in an integrated assessment centre.

Simon Evans, chief operating officer at ULHT, said the measure is designed to ensure that patients are treated “promptly”.

Councillor Carl Macey, chair of the health scrutiny panel for Lincolnshire.

Meanwhile, Councillor Carl Macey, chair of the scrutiny panel, said officials had learned their lessons from previous winters.

“I think they are pretty advantageous,” he said.

“It looks like they have put a lot more detail and work in there and have learned lessons from what went wrong last year.

“I think they have got to try new and novel ideas to try and direct people in the right way.”


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