A critical incident has been declared by hospitals in Lincolnshire following a surge in coronavirus patients.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised for the delays patients have faced overnight in receiving treatment, Lincolnshire Live reports.
The critical incident - the highest alert level - means most face to face staff training remains cancelled, but vital core learning, study leave and annual leave can continue.
Around 200 patients with Covid-19 were recorded in Lincolnshire's hospitals in Greetwell Road and at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston at a time of staff shortages because of infection and self-isolation.
Mark Brassington, Deputy Chief Executive at ULHT, said: “We are sorry for the waits that our patients have faced yesterday and overnight.
“The number of inpatients who have been confirmed as having COVID-19 across our sites remains higher than in wave one and we remain extremely busy across our wards and intensive care units."
The news comes as Boris Johnson puts England into its third national lockdown to protect the NHS.
Mr Brassington continued: “The number of inpatients who have been confirmed as having COVID-19 across our sites remains higher than in wave one and we remain extremely busy across our wards and intensive care units.
"Our position is compounded by challenges with staffing due to a lack of availability of colleagues due to a number of factors.
"We would like to thank all of our colleagues for all they are doing to support each other and for continuing to care for patients during these difficult times."
“The public can help by ensuring they follow government guidelines to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and by ensuring they use the most appropriate NHS service for their condition.”
The previous highest level of alert declared at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston was in November.
At that time the number of patients with Covid-19 at both hospitals rose from 56 to 175 in a week at a time of staff shortages.
Training, study leave, non-clinical time, and, where possible, annual leave, were cancelled.