People power is said to be playing a key role in discussions on the future of Boston Pilgrim Hospital – as more people join the fight to save services.
There is intense speculation that United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust is considering the future of Boston’s Accident and Emergency and Maternity departments as part of a massive savings programme.
However, Colin Mair - the UKIP leader on Lincolnshire County Council - has revealed he understands any changes could be scaled back.
More than 300 readers of The Standard, Lincolnshire Free Press, Spalding Guardian, Skegness Standard, Sleaford Standard and Horncastle News have filled out coupons opposing any closures.
Coun Mair, who represents the Tattershall Castle Ward, praised the campaign and said he thought readers are playing a key part in plans to re-shape the future of the hospital.
Coun Mair said: “Everything I hear suggests the possible closure of departments appears to be less likely than two of three weeks ago.
“I’ve no doubt the NHS Trust has listened to what local people are saying.
“There has been an outcry - and rightly so. People want services in Boston. They don’t want to travel to the other side of the county.”
The news comes as retired doctor Cyril Nyman throws his support behind our campaign. In a passionate letter in today’s Standard he stresses the key role the public played in helping to fund services at the Pilgrim.
He writes: “It must never be forgotten that Pilgrim Hospital – the services it has offered and the care given to our patients – comes from the support given to us by local people.”
He adds: “The Government and the trust have done very little for us. We MUST NOT let the Pilgrim Hospital nor the services that it has provided, be taken away.”
Conservative councillors on Boston Borough Council stressed they are working to protect services at the Pilgrim. In a statement, they said: “As Conservative Councillors representing the Borough of Boston, we oppose the relocation of Accident and Emergency, Maternity and other acute services from Pilgrim Hospital.
“However, it is important for people to know that we are doing more than just making statements.
“We have, for some time now, been working jointly with Lincolnshire County Council and with NHS providers to ensure that people living in the borough receive the appropriate level and quality of health services’ provision.
“With that in mind, we continue to work with GPs to deliver locally-based joint services to complement the specialist provision provided by the Pilgrim Hospital and, although we accept that ULHT must retain some flexibility in order to protect Pilgrim Hospital’s long-term future, we emphasise that we will remain vigilant in protecting all aspects of health provision for the benefit of everyone in our borough.”
The Standard will continue to collect coupons to present to the trust and has also launched an online petition to try to force a debate at County Hall. That can be signed at http://epetitionslincolnshire.firmstep.com