NHS chiefs say they are yet to work out the detail of a major overhaul of A&E services that could impact on Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.
The Clinical Commissioning Group for Lincolnshire East, which covers the borough, met on Wednesday to look at a review which could eventually mean one big Accident and Emergency centre rather than the three at the moment - in Boston, Lincoln and Grantham.
But members called for the overhaul – the Lincolnshire Sustainable Services Review – to be spelled out in plain English and said the details are yet to be ironed out.
Members were told that there had been no major change to the NHS in the past 60 years and it needed to change to deal with more long-term conditions, such as lung disease, dementia and cancer.
This included taking into account that there was now a ‘big cross-over between health and social care’.
Accountable officer Gary Jones said: “We need to get hospital facilities on things hospitals are very good at. Dealing with people who are critically ill.”
Clinical leader for Boston Peter Holmes said it was important to make sure people who turn up requiring urgent care were seen by the right people the first time.
It could mean that GPs are drafted in to A&E departments, and could also see all the services brought under one banner.
Mr Jones said: “People think of A&E as where you go if you have got a major injury.
“Many people that come in are people with a complex need and we need a different type of clinician in that part of the system who is positioned to deal with those.”
He said that whether any A&E departments will close and which ones would be decided in the next phase and that no-one has thought in detail about that yet.
Mr Holmes added: “It may be that some of the bigger stuff is dealt with in bigger wards which may involve travel.”
Members were told by chairman Brynnen Massey that the proactive care so far included projects to try to stop people deteriorating into ‘crisis’ patients.
He said: “We’ve come up with a concept of what’s called a neighbourhood team with the appropriate people who could provide care and support to people in the community.”
This, he said, would include the primary health trust, social care workers and volunteers and could lead to roles such as a ‘community geriatrician’ who would have access to hospital services.
The planned care system would take inspiration from other parts of the world, and would support emergency care. Members at the meeting, at Boston Borough Council, were told the next stage of the review would go into more detail.