Medical school plan for Lincoln University a step closer

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Jan Sobieraj  and ULHT medical director Neill Hepburn  at the meeting of Skegness Town Council. ANL-190804-131654001
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Jan Sobieraj and ULHT medical director Neill Hepburn at the meeting of Skegness Town Council. ANL-190804-131654001

A new medical school at Lincoln University is a step closer with professors now being shortlisted.

The news was announced as a game changer for hospitals struggling to recruit doctors when United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust chief executive Jan Sobieraj met with Skegness town councillors last week.

Mr Sobieraj and ULHT medical director Neill Hepburn were answering concerns regarding the Trust’s own integrated report, which showed there was a significant decline in overall performance and motivation of staff between 2017 to 2018.

He said: “We fully support the University and their ambitions for a medical school as it will be a game changer for us. Doctors will be attracted to a county with a medical school where it had been difficult to recruit in the past.

“There has been a global search for professors are we are delighted to report shortlisting has begun.”

Other topics covered at the council meeting included Emergency Care, Mortality Rates, and EMAS handover times.

Changes at Pilgrim Hospital, estimated last year to cost £500k, to provide a an additional entrance to the Accident and Emergency department, a new corridor and four new consultation rooms were outlined by Mr Hepburn as a way of improving emergency care.

In other areas signs of improvement were already being seen. “The Hospital Standardised Mortality Rate is a measure on how a patient is expected to respond to treatment. We are now better than the national average for the number of patients who are admitted and recover.”

A focus on care in the community - such as in GP Surgeries and old people’s homes - so only serious cases are dealt with in hospital was also a priority for the ULHT, said Mr Sobieraj.

However, there was still a commitment to delivering neonatal care at Pilgrim Hospital, in spite of some cases being transferred to other hospitals as a result of staffing concerns.

“Ninety-eight per cent of cases are still being dealt with at Boston and we remain committed to retaining neonatal care in Pilgrim,” said Mr Sobieraj. “But we want to introduce a midwifery-led unit to alleviate the staffing issues that have resulted in recent changes.”

However, there was reassurance for those fearing hospitals were being downgraded. Mr Sobieraj said: “We are busier than ever with more emergency cases being treated and more patients for planned care. Change in inevitable but we remain committed.”