Hospital Watch fears over county A&E plans

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

A senior Skegness Hospital Watch member says he is “disgusted” by an NHS review which may ultimately leave the county with just one ‘main’ A&E.

NHS chiefs say they are yet to work out the detail of a major overhaul of A&E services that could impact on the Pilgrim Hospital.

The Boston site is currently one of three ‘main’ A&E units in the county - alongside Lincoln and Grantham.

But the Lincolnshire Sustainable Services Review is rumoured to be considering just one big A&E unit - although it has been stressed that recommendations and decisions over whether any A&E units would close will not be dealt with until the next phase of the review.

Skegness Hospital Watch’s Geoff Poulter is deeply concerned by the prospect of major A&E cases on the east coast having to travel even further than Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital for life-saving treatment.

And he says this “all eggs in one basket approach” will seriously undermine healthcare in the county - and especially on the coast.

He added that all those who have raised money for equipment at Skegness Hospital in the past feel betrayed and are “absolutely furious” at the suggestion of just one big A&E.

He added that the current review is motivated by the need to save costs, but that central government should come forward with the cash to protect such facilities.

Meanwhile, the Clinical Commissioning Group for Lincolnshire East met last week to look at the review.

Members called for the overhaul to be spelled out in plain English and said the details are yet to be ironed out.

At the meeting, clinical leader for Boston, Peter Holmes, said it was important to make sure people who turn up requiring urgent care were seen by the right people first time. It could mean that GPs are drafted in to A&E deparetments and could also see all the services brought under one banner.

He said that whether any A&E departments will close, and which ones, would be decided in the next phase and no-one has thought in detail about that yet,

Mr Holmes added: “It may be that some of the bigger stuff is dealt with in bigger wards which may involve travel”.

Responding to the fears, the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “The review is in its early stages, with phase one having just been completed.

“This included a health and social care summit, involving 300 people from a range of organisations and patient representative groups across the county to discuss potential ideas to put forward,” they added.