Mum comes to Spalding to say hospital saved her life ... and two of her daughters
A grateful mum explained to Spalding families why she owes her life - and the lives of two of her children - to Pilgrim Hospital.
Mum of four Emma Wilcock (38), from campaign group SoS Pilgrim - Call to Action, and daughter Mya, now five, survived a traumatic delivery thanks to doctors at the Boston hospital.
In February, speedy treatment at Pilgrim saved the life of her daughter, Eva (8), admitted after a meningitis scare that turned out to be a potentially life-threatening blood infection.
On Tuesday, a TV news team filmed as Emma spoke to Spalding shoppers about the potential impact on South Holland residents of cuts in children's, women's and other services at Pilgrim.
One change saw its children's ward replaced by an assessment unit, which means children needing help for more than 12 hours are sent to Lincoln.
Emma says Eva was treated within the "golden hour", and given antibiotics, but none of the eight children's beds in Pilgrim was free - and Eva was transferred to Lincoln.
"At 1am we were told 'we need to find you an ambulance' and we waited another four-and-a-half hours for a transfer," said Emma. "The nearest available ambulance on that day was in Leicester and it had to come from Leicester to take us to Lincoln."
The blue-light ride lasted almost 45 minutes but Emma says it would have been longer with roads choked by daytime traffic.
In the ambulance, Emma's mind raced with anxiety: "I was thinking why on earth are they making us go away from safety (Pilgrim)?"
Emma says cuts mean hundreds of mums, babies and children will be forced to make the same journey or go further afield.
SoS Pilgrim believe cuts in Boston will pile pressure on other hospitals, a "ripple effect" which could impact on services in Peterborough or elsewhere.
Emma is happy to speak to groups in Spalding, and is inviting residents to an awareness event in Boston's Central Park, starting at midday on September 23, followed by a 'Stride with Pride' march.
Spalding mum Lisa Healey said, several years ago, her daughter was transferred from Pilgrim to Peterborough.
She said: "You have to rearrange your plans and it costs you a lot more money."
* Find out more by visiting SoS Pilgrim - Call to Action on Facebook.