HOSPITAL CAMPAIGN: ‘Cuts would not sort fundamental issues’

David Bowles
David Bowles

The former chairm an of the trust in charge of Pilgrim Hospital has said bosses should resolve fundamental problems with our NHS rather than make sweeping cuts.

David Bowles was chairman of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust from 2006 to 2009, and quit because of what he felt was a dangerous drive to put targets over patient safety.

Last week we revealed that even the maternity and A&E units are part of a wide-ranging review in a bid to make huge savings in Lincolnshire’s NHS.

Mr Bowles says this was not something considered during his tenure.

He told The Standard: “This was never even on the radar. It was a case of how do we try to make sure Boston remains vibrant and viable? You have to protect services in rural areas.”

He said the funding of the NHS does not reflect the rural nature of Lincolnshire or the dangers this can bring.

He added: “We have genuinely dreadful roads. This is not blue lighting down dual carriageways, it’s windy roads and bends.”

Mr Bowles fears the current cost-cutting review will see the mistakes of the past repeated.

He said: “The NHS always re-organise rather than sort the fundamental problem. It’s ‘get rid of a board, a chief executive, sack a few people and it will all be alright’.

“Unfortunately this is going to go on and on.”

He feels that there needs to be a change in the funding formula to reflect the cost of running healthcare services in rural areas such as ours as well as a review of the reasons for people attending hospitals.

He believes there should be more hospice beds for patients and ‘cottage hospitals’ to take the strain off the Pilgrim.

He added: “Far roo many people who don’t need to be in hospital are going in for far too long.

“Rather than looking at cutting vital things like A&E they should sort out the root cause of the problem.”