ASSURANCES have been made that health services at Skegness Hospital will not be downgraded when it is rebranded an Urgent Care Centre in April.
The proposed change, which follows a ‘Shaping Health for Skegness Hospital’ consultation conducted by Lincolnshire Primary Health Care Trust, initially sparked fears that fewer services will be offered than are currently available as an A&E department.
However senior health care professionals behind the rebranding have insisted the it is merely a more accurate description of the services currently offered rather than any discernable change to those services themselves.
Urgent care lead manager at NHS Lincolnshire Lizzie Carroll-Thom said: “When it becomes an urgent care centre it will be business as usual at Skegness Hospital - this is not a downgrading of services.”
Other changes due to take effect in October will see the creation of an out of hours service which health service campaigners at Skegness Hospital Watch have welcomed as an improvement.
The new service will enable more patients to be treated at Skegness Hospital, cutting out many inconvenient journeys to Boston Pilgrim.
Chronically ill patients will also benefit from an enhanced home visit service.
Mrs Carrol-Thom continued: “This is an enhancement to the service currently offered and will be a major addition to Skegness Hospital.”
Thanks to Skegness Hospital Watch’s prolific fund raising with support from the local community there will be further service improvements to coincide with the rebranding.
A staggering £42,000 was raised by the group last year, which enabled it to donate potentially life-saving diagnostic equipment to the hospital.
Blood testing machines capable of detecting the early onset of life-threatening disorders such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and strokes, will soon be installed, providing yet more services locally which previously would have required patients to travel out of town.
The only minor problem foreseeable with the rebranding exercise relates to a peculiarity with highways legislation which currently prevents urgent care centre signs being displayed on roads.
However Mrs Carol-Thom has explained that it is a national issue currently being investigated by the Department of Health.