SPECIAL REPORT: ‘I expected the Pilgrim’s maternity unit to get cash years ago’ - former chairman

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

Plans for a multi-million pound upgrade for Pilgrim Hospital’s maternity unit were on the cards in 2008/09 – according to a former trust chairman.

The Standard understands that the trust members were, at that time, involved in a row with the Strategic Health Authority over getting cash for a 100-bed extension to Lincoln County Hospital.

Ex-chairman David Bowles said the SHA actually questioned why the bid was made for Lincoln and not Boston at that time. Lincoln got the cash instead after it was stressed that patient waiting time targets could not be met.

Mr Bowles told The Standard: “The Strategic Health Authority was critical of ULHT in 2008/09 for not coming up with a capital scheme for Boston.

“There was a row to put it mildly and I would’ve expected that the Boston scheme would’ve followed on quickly after.

“My clear understanding was that, subject to the business case following, the Strategic Health Authority would’ve rubber stamped Boston pretty soon afterwards.”

His account comes after The Standard revealed that bureaucrats chose not to use Government funding for a full rebuild of Pilgrim Hospital’s maternity unit – despite the idea having the backing of then-health minister Andrew Lansley.

Mr Bowles is now heavily involved in NHS campaigns and has argued that ULHT put targets before patient safety. He resigned from his position in 2009.

He added: “Boston is probably the worst funded, or pretty close, hospital in the country for the volume of work it does.”