Trust has 'not provided enough detail' to make closure decision
Councillors have told health bosses that there is “not enough information” in United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust's (ULHT) reports to make a decision on the future of children’s services at Boston Pilgrim Hospital.
But the trust's chef executive says the trust is working 'in patients' best interest' and says there seems to be a 'conspiracy theory' approach.
Paediatric services at Pilgrim are currently under review and there are proposals to temporarily close the children’s ward as part of five options laid out by the trust.
A severe staff shortage forced the trust to call for an urgent review of the service.
Members of the county council's Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire have raised concern about the level of detail presented by ULHT.
Coun Carl Macey, chair of the panel, said that the trust would need to come back with more information before making a decision.
“The report is very much the same as what was presented before the board,” he said. “I don’t think there is enough information within the report currently, they have assured us that they are working it up.
“We want to see the in-depth way that they are working it up so we can come to a decision on what way forward we can go.”
Boston MP Matt Warman has previously raised the issue in the House of Commons, seeking reassurances from the Prime Minister and the Department for Health.
Meanwhile, Coun Mark Whittington told the committee that the service was being run down.
“I get a wonderful sense of deja vu,” he said. “This is the exact same paper that was presented to the trust board meeting.
He added that the trust had known about the problems on paediatrics for the past 10 years
But ULHT chief executive, Jan Sobieraj, denied the service was being undermined and said the trust needs to ensure the service is safe.
“The trust has nothing but the patients’ best interest at heart,” he said. “This seems to be a conspiracy theory approach.
“I understand the fears surrounding the service and the trust’s preferred option is to maintain services as they are.”
He added that the maintaining of services is the least worst option financially for the trust.
ULHT’s board previously delayed a decision on the future of the service.
Dr Neill Hepburn said that ULHT needs to try and alleviate people’s fears over the future of the service.
“I think what we need to do is to ensure that if we do anything that it is safe,” he said. “Secondly, we need to explain to people what we are doing and why we are doing it.
“I’m concerned about the fear because it’s very corrosive and difficult for people but we need to ensure it is safe and communicate and explain what is happening.”
The trust will hold an executive meeting on May 25; however, Dr Hepburn could not confirm whether a recommendation on the future of the service will be made.