Concerns over Skegness Hospital

HEALTH campaigners and a former hospital trust board member have expressed their fears that services at Skegness Hospital will be downgraded following comments made by a senior health professional.

Chief Executive at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Andrew North, addressed Skegness Hospital Watch members, nurses and councillors at a meeting on Thursday.

Comments he made referring to a ‘drop-in centre’ at Skegness Hospital sparked concerns that the level of service would be downgraded amid changes to the health care system.

Hospital Watch’s Geoff Poulter said: “We are hoping it was just a slip of the tongue but it did raise some concerns and he didn’t really address those when it was mentioned.”

Following a Shaping Health at Skegness Hospital survey conducted by Lincolnshire Primary Health Care Trust in consultation with Hospital Watch, it was decided that Skegeness Hospital’s A&E department would be rebranded as an Urgent Care centre.

Although there were concerns that this heralded a reduction in service, the fact that it would remain a 24/7 facility operated by trained doctors was positively noted.

Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust has since changed and the management of Skegness Hospital and its transition toward an Urgent Care centre transferred to a new organisation - Lincolnshire Community Health Service.

With these changes, along with £14 million debts faced by United Lincolnshire Hospitals, Coun Mark Anderson fears that Mr North’s comments may signal cost cutting service reductions.

He said: “Those comments could mean that urgent care is being downgraded to a minor injuries centre run by nurses rather than doctors. I have also heard that one of the proposals is to do away with staff grade nurses and replace them with level two nurses.”