HOSPITAL CAMPAIGN: Retired nurse insists more money needed

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

A retired nurse has said it is about time the Government came to realise that more money is needed to run hospital services in Lincolnshire.

Roger Hancock told The Standard that it is time that the authorities finally listened to calls for help and funded the Pilgrim Hospital accordingly.

He said: “We have had five or six chief executives. They’ve all told the Government that they have not got enough money to run services in Lincolnshire.

“One could be wrong, two might be exceptional but five can’t be wrong.”

Mr Hancock said MP Mark Simmonds spent a night shift at the hospital with him to see what it was like and has continually lobbied on behalf of the town.

He went on to say: “More people have moved to this area and Government ministers do not understand because they sit in London and Westminster and know if they feel ill they have got plenty of hospitals to care for them.

“You can’t have that service here.”

Last week a spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust revealed that the NHS in Lincolnshire as a whole faces a £365 million deficit and vowed ‘doing nothing is not an option’.

The spokesman said it is proposed all A&Es be re-classified and could be ‘emergency centres’ and ‘major emergency centres’ but said no decision had been made about the status of the department in Boston.

Figures obtained by The Standard earlier this year show a big increase in use of the hospital in the past decade. In 2004 there were 39,257 A&E admissions but last year that rose to 49,030. Inpatient numbers similarly jumped from 43,747 to 53,832 in the same period.

Horncastle councillor Linda Baker raised fears patient safety would be put at risk if patients were forced to travel further for emergency care.

Mr Hancock told The Standard he shares those concerns, adding: “We already transfer seriously ill patients 25 miles from Skegness to Boston - are they then going to have to be transferred even further?”

He added: “Look at the miles people have to travel to get to the hospital and the vulnerability of many of the patients.”