NHS boss invites Boston council chief to air hospital concerns

Pilgrim Hospital. EMN-141021-133457001
Pilgrim Hospital. EMN-141021-133457001

Boston Borough Council’s chief executive has been invited to express concerns over any future cuts to Pilgrim Hospital to health board members.

The invitation comes following a letter sent to the council from United Lincolnshire Hospital Trusts chief executive Jane Lewington.

In the letter, sent in December, Mrs Lewington replies to a council motion expressing concerns over possible cuts in the future.

Mrs Lewington repeats a lot of what has been said previously in relation to future cuts, in particularly that the trust is at the early stages of its planning and that it is evaluating options.

She again states that proposals will be subject to consultation.

She writes: “The trust board is faced with unprecedented challenges in ensuring the sustainability of hospital services.

“We also have a responsibility to ensure that all of our services can meet ever increasing clinical standards.”

She writes that some services demand ‘increased specialisation’ which means the trust needs to consolidate skills and resources’.

She adds: “We do though have a shared ambition in that the board is fully committed to ensuring a viable future for Pilgrim Hospital, as we have for all our sites.

“To achieve this we believe that some difficult decisions will have to be taken, but at the heart of our desires will be to ensure that Lincolnshire patients can access the highest quality of care.

A hospital source however, criticised the response.

They said: “To me it’s the most condescending, uninformative letter I’ve ever seen.”

A joint statement from Boston Borough Council’s acting chief executive Phil Drury and council leader Coun Peter Bedford said the authority was concerned that accident and emergency, maternity and other acute services should continue to be available at the Pilgrim.

They said: “It is pleasing to note that the chief executive of ULHT and her board share the council’s ambition to ensure a viable future for the Pilgrim Hospital and will take into account the council’s and the public’s views when any proposals for change are considered.”

Mrs Lewington has also asked Mr Drury to speak directly to her boardmembers over these matters.

The council has said it appreciated the financial pressures and both organisations said they had noted that difficult decisions may have to be taken.

The letter from Mr Drury and Coun Bedford: “The council will continue to press for local services to be available to local people, locally.”