Health professionals allay hospital concerns

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A SENIOR doctor and health campaigners have made assurances that services at Skegness Hospital will not be downgraded, despite concerns previously raised to the contrary.

Vice chairman of Skegness and Coast Clinical Commissioning Group, Derek Dewar, has responded to comments made in last week’s Standard regarding fears that proposals for future health service in Skegness were to be scaled back.

He said: “Local GPs are absolutely committed to the future of Skegness Hospital and we want to see it continue to thrive - we are trying to ensure its future with these changes.

“It will definitely be a 24/7 service, we want not only to have tremendous care during the day, we also want to have the out of hours service as well.”

Following a lengthy public consultation it was announced earlier this year that Skegness A&E department was to be rebranded an Urgent Care Centre.

There were some initial concerns that this itself heralded a reduction in service from what was already offered by the A&E department.

These were allayed by assurances that it was merely a name change to better describe the level of services offered at the hospital, rather than a change to those services.

Health service campaigners at Skegness Hospital Watch were also appreciative of the proposal’s inclusion of an out of hours service.

However changes to the organisational structure of the NHS in Lincolnshire and a reference to a ‘drop in centre’ made by the chief executive of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Andrew North, created some worries that those plans may have been cut back.

Coun Mark Anderson also questioned whether funding for the hospital would be reduced in order to claw back some of the £14 million deficit faced by ULH NHS Trust.

Comments were also made about downgrading the seniority of the nursing staff.

Dr Dewar has since explained that Andrew North’s reference to a drop-in centre was merely a slip of the tongue.

As the vice chairman of the organisation responsible for commissioning services at Skegness Hospital, Dr Dewar has also expressed his complete support of the plans to procede with the hospital as an Urgent Care Centre with an out of hours service.

Chairman of Skegness Hospital Watch Maureen Mier has echoed Dr Dewar’s assurances that the services offered will only improve through the proposed changes.

She said: “The service will be exactly the same with the addition of an out of hours service, which is a great bonus.”