Mum’s campaign for services after son’s life saved at Boston Pilgrim Hospita

Rachel and Chris Bray with son, Oliver
Rachel and Chris Bray with son, Oliver

A Boston mum whose seven-year-old son’s life was saved at the Pilgrim Hospital at birth says it is vital all children’s and maternity services are retained there.

From August, the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust has said high risk pregnancies and seriously ill children will be transferred out.

There had been concerns about whether the unit would stay open, and the trust says its proposed solution will see most services remain. But Rachel Bray says all the services must remain for the sake of the community. She said her son, Oliver, became high-risk after his birth.

“He stopped breathing and was whisked away to neonatal. The amazing team on both maternity and neonatal worked to stabilise him, ventilated him, and then he was moved to Nottingham City Hospital,” she said.

“Both Nottingham City and QMC, treated him, and discovered that he had suffered a Grade 2 stroke, he was extremely poorly. But due to the fast acting midwives, nurses and doctors at Pilgrim and beyond, he is now a cheeky seven year old, and we are so grateful and thankful to them all.”

She said that’s why she fundraised for Pilgrim neonatal unit for years, and when she learned about potential closures, she joined SOS Pilgrim.

“I was amazed at how few people actually knew what was happening, and still don’t,” she said. “At ULHT’s last board meeting they outlined their contingency which states that the Children’s Ward, will now become an Assessment Unit, of only 6-8 beds observing children for 8-12 hours.

“My main concerns about the ‘Assessment Unit’ is that what happens to children that would usually be treated at Pilgrim in an emergency, where it is obvious that they will need to stay in hospital for over 8-12 hours.

“They will clearly bypass Pilgrim and be sent to another hospital that has a free bed.

“The impact this has on families, financially, and emotionally is unacceptable, imagine having other children at home too to care for.

“I understand there is a recruitment issue, but why have they waited until things have got desperate before doing something about it. It’s a disgrace.

“There are also the children that are extremely poorly that need stabilising before being transferred, that often have to wait weeks before being well enough to travel, and those children with ongoing needs on the unit, that currently have open access to the ward, will they have to travel too?

A ULHT spokesperson said: “We understand that there is concern regarding the staffing situation at Pilgrim hospital, and we are continuing to develop plans which will enable us to sustain services for as long as possible.

“We are still working on the details of the proposed interim model for services and will share more information on them as soon as we are able to.”