Skegness has become the second council in the county to declare a vote of no confidence in the Trust running Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.
A new interim model for children’s and maternity services was announced last week amidst fears the downgrading of services has already begun.
The vote follows the actions of Boston Borough Council last month, when councillors again passed a motion of no confidence in the senior management of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.
Pilgrim Hospital chiefs faced a three-hour grilling when a raft of questions were posed by councillors and members of the public at a Boston Borough Council scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday night.
The meeting was held on the very day that the hospital declared that any child requiring more than 12 hours observation would be moved to another hospital, as would any expectant mother not yet at 37 weeks gestation requiring medical attention - an increase from 34 weeks.
On the same evening, a motion calling on the UHLT to resolve the ongoing situation at Pilgrim Hospital and end the distress this is causing people was put before Skegness council by Coun Phil Gaskell, who also fronts the Skegness Hospital Watch.
It states: “Skegness Town Council recognises and supports the hard-working staff at Pilgrim Hospital. However, after years of mismanagement by United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust, it has no confidence in the Trust’s ability to resolve the ongoing problems at the hospital. These problems are not only causing distress to the people of Skegness and surrounding areas but they are also proving detrimental to the quality of the healthcare the Trust is delivering. It is proposed that this Council, through the Mayor and Town Clerk, work with and support our local MP in taking these concerns to Governments, the Lincolnshire Health and Wellbeing Board and the Trust itself.”
Coun Gaskell addressed the meeting, highlighting ULHT performance statistics from last month’s CQC inspection report.
He said: “ULHT is 131st out of 134 Trusts surveyed in 2017 and 1.7 per cent worse than 2016, hitting only 76.7 per cent against 95 per cent target for being seen within four hours (nationally 89.5 per cent was achieved).
“In March this year, this figure fell to 65 per cent, which the Chief Operating Officer blamed on the closure of the Lincoln walk-in centre.
“Other Trusts have the same targets and the ULHT tell us that the staffing shortages are the same nationwide and not just in Lincolnshire.
“In April 2017 Trust vacancies were 11.4 per cent and had risen to 12.57 per cent by April 2018. Vacancies for medical staff are currently over 18 per cent.
“This begs the question if other Trusts can perform better under the same conditions - why and how can’t we? Achievement against targets are a measure of performance and also a measure of performance against others with exactly the same targets.”
Coun Mark Anderson, in supporting the motion, described the services provided by ULHT as ‘out of Africa’ and said: “I worry for my grandchildren. We live in the most deprived area and deserve more.”
Coun Elaine Freeman, a retired nurse, warned against target ting individuals with such a motion. “Sometimes targets cannot be achieved because beds are blocked because patients have no support in the community when they have finished their treatment.
“A patient could block a bed for a year and factors like this should be taken into account when any decision on action is taken.”
On being informed of the latest action by Skegness Town Council, MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman said: “Pilgrim is the hospital I’ve used with my own daughter, and I absolutely understand the need for it to retain women and children’s services to the very greatest possible extent.
“Closure is simply unacceptable, and that’s why I welcome the fact that in part as a result of the work I’ve done with the Trust, that threat of total closure has now gone away. I absolutely share the concerns raised by Skegness Town Council, and also Boston Borough Council, over the impact of the situation at Pilgrim Hospital on local residents and patients, and I am grateful for their endorsement of my work and the progress we have seen on the matter so far.
“This will see 97.2% of potentially affected patients currently seen at Pilgrim still seen at Pilgrim under the Trust’s interim model for children’s and maternity services. It is important that government at all levels works together, alongside the Trust and other NHS organisations, to resolve the situation for the benefit of local residents, and I will continue to have confidence in the Trust as long as we continue to see progress being made.
“We’ve already seen that as the Trust as a whole has moved up in its CQC rating, and there are plans to address ongoing problems at Pilgrim. I have raised this matter at the highest possible levels of Government and the NHS, and have already been in touch with the new Health Secretary too. I will continue to press this vital issue.”
YOUR CHANCE TO HAVE A SAY
In spite of the interim changes in place, the ULHT insists it is still listening and wants help in shaping the future of our children’s service.
A series of paediatric engagement events for ULHT members are taking place over the next three months.
All meetings will be held in the committee room in the postgraduate medical education centre at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston:
l Monday 20 August 6pm – 8pm
l Monday 17 September 3pm – 5pm
Anyone planning to go along should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01522 572301.