Health watchdogs in Skegness are stepping up their ongoing campaign to safeguard services at the town’s hospital.
With the Government currently re-crunching the numbers on its funding commitments, the Skegness Hospital Watch pressure group is determined the town should not miss out.
“It is imperative that we keep on the top side of things,” declared chairman Eddie Gasson at a meeting held on Thursday in the ballroom of the Crown Hotel on Drummond Road.
“We must ensure our voice is heard at the right time and in the right place - and above all, we must keep the public informed of what’s happening.”
One of the group’s top priorities is to persuade newly-elected Conservative MP Matt Warman to attend its meeting next month or, failing that, one of those scheduled for autumn.
“Watch members want both to raise issues of local concern and to obtain clarification on the current thinking of the Government on the role of smaller hospitals such as the one in Skegness.
“Now that the MP will have found his feet at Westminster, it will be valuable to hear what he has to say,”commented vice-chairman John Orgine.
Secretary Geoff Poulter reminded the meeting that Hospital Watch had been founded some 11 years ago in response to concerns over staffing cuts - specifically the loss of a ward.
Based on what he had heard from confidential sources, Skegness could again be at risk from the ‘knock-on effect’ of a potential new squeeze on healthcare provision.
“It is essential that treatment is provided at the point of need,” he insisted.
Also present at the meeting, in a courtesy capacity, was Karen Kerman who is matron for urgent care at both the local hospital and the one at Louth.
She assured the meeting that she was ‘not aware’ of any new rationalisation proposed for Skegness.
When Mr Poulter sought to quiz Ms Kerman in more depth, he was cut short by the chairman who demanded: “Geoff, show the matron some respect.
“We are lucky to have her with us this evening, and we want her to know she is always welcome at our meetings.”
The secretary shot back: “I’m not attacking the lady, nor am I her showing her disrespect.”
But before he could continue, Mr Gasson snapped: “Consider the matter squashed.”
Later in the meeting, Mr Poulter, expressed concerns about various local issues based on his own recent experience as a recovering patient - for instance, delays in scans being uploaded to computers and patients being ‘shunted to all corners of Lincolnshire’ for appointments or treatment.
“When we have the equipment here in Skegness it seems so wasteful,” he argued. “Being motorised all over the county compounds the worry for patients and puts the onus on family or carers.”
l Hospital Watch is proposing a recruitment drive to attract younger people, many of whom are known to be interested in healthcare, whether practical, political or both. For more details visit: www.skeg ness-hospitalwatch.co.uk