We feel passionately about the need to protect the services on offer at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.
That’s why, last week, we launched our Save Our Services campaign in partnership with the Horncastle News, Sleaford Standard, Skegness Standard and the Spalding Guardian.
There are those who may argue we should wait, sit tight, see what the NHS proposes and react accordingly.
In our opinion this would not be good enough.
We know that the NHS in Lincolnshire is facing up to a big funding deficit (it keeps getting bigger with every doom-laden statement).
But we feel that in its cost-cutting exercise certain things simply have to be off limits.
The A&E and maternity services must be protected at the Pilgrim Hospital but, frankly, so should all the existing services and staff (let’s not forget the hospital is the major employer in the town).
Since launching the campaign The Standard has spoken to a few people who work at the hospital.
These people, understandably, can’t be seen to speak out.
It’s clear that these people are passionate about what they do and fearful for the future.
Many fear ‘salami slicing’ - whereby services are taken away from our hospital gradually over time and then the larger units they support – such as maternity – become less viable as a result.
One pleaded: “This would be a massive blow for the community.
“The community does need to know that these things are being talked about.
“People should be up in arms about this.”
The other thing that seems difficult to comprehend is that we are currently in the middle of a period in which politicians are stating the case for ‘fairer funding’ for this area.
People of all parties accept that the Census figure – which alone shows a huge rise in population in the last decade – does not reflect the true size of our population.
If they are to be successful in convincing the authorities that this is indeed the case then you would hope that the result would be better funding for our hospital, police force and roads to reflect the need for better infrastructure and services to cater for the population.
That extra cash – which needs to be a long term commitment and not a short term sticking plaster – would help ease the trust’s financial headache.
To cut services before that argument is played out would undermine the whole process.
The extra number of patients at the Pilgrim supports a case for expansion of services rather than a cut.