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Children’s ward crisis: is it time Pilgrim switched to Peterborough trust?

Children's services could be stopped at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.
Children's services could be stopped at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

A patient watchdog believes Boston’s crisis-hit Pilgrim Hospital should switch to the Peterborough and Stamford hospitals trust now its children’s ward is threatened with “temporary” closure.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT), which runs hospitals in Boston, Grantham and Lincoln, blames a shortage of children’s doctors (paediatricians) for the looming emergency.

Stopping children’s services at any hospital is an immediate threat to consultant-led maternity services because maternity doctors (obstetricians) won’t deliver babies without paediatricians on site to revive newborns who need emergency medical treatment.

ULHT has just spent £2.5million upgrading its maternity and gynaecology ward, completing that work in February.

ULHT’s board meets on May 25 to discuss options for children’s services at Pilgrim, and these include a temporary closure as early as June 4.

Failing ULHT has spent a long time in special measures and patient watchdog Healthwatch Lincolnshire believes that makes it “nowhere near as attractive as one that isn’t” when it tries to recruit staff.

In a press statement, Healthwatch say: “Isn’t it time that we asked NHS England whether Lincolnshire residents would get a better service if ULHT was split?

“Maybe if the trust concentrated on Lincoln with delivery of additional services in Skegness, Gainsborough and Louth hospitals, then Pilgrim and Grantham hospitals may fare better if they affiliated to North West Anglia Foundation Trust, which includes Peterborough and Stamford hospitals, or Nottingham University Hospital.

“This option may provide better opportunities for our hospitals, such as additional availability of medical staff rotated in with specialist skills, which would be the responsibility of the neighbouring trusts.”

South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes has told ULHT that the children’s ward must remain open – and services at Pilgrim must remain as they are – even if that means bringing in staff from other hospitals.

Mr Hayes says the services are important to a great many of his constituents.

• What do you think? Email your views to our editor: jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

Previously ...

Welcome to the Hotel Pilgrim!

Health trust that runs Pilgrim Hospital in special measures

Anger as Pilgrim Hospital’s mental health unit is moved


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