Politicians have called for a walk-in centre to be built in Boston to take the strain off Pilgrim Hospital’s busy A&E department.
The call for an expansion of NHS services comes as The Standard campaigns to fight any proposals to make cuts at Pilgrim Hospital.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust is looking to make big savings and has warned NHS services across the county face a £365 million deficit if no action is taken.
Last week politicians from the borough attended an East Midlands Councils Health Summit held at the House of Commons.
There Labour’s Paul Kenny andConservative councillor Stephen Woodliffe made the case for Boston to an all-parliamentary group that included Ken Clarke, Stephen Dorrell and Dennis Skinner.
Coun Kenny – chairman of East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership – feels many members of the town’s migrant community are not used to visiting doctors and would be better catered for with a walk-in centre.
He said: “We are aware that large numbers of people attend the A&E department at Pilgrim Hospital rather than register with local doctors, so there is an urgent need to create a walk-in clinic which could be funded by the East Lincolnshire CCG.
“This will make a quicker access via A&E for emergency treatment, and at the same time get the thousands of people who are not currently registered with a GP some initial treatment and advice and then encouraged to register with a GP for future treatment.
“We want to stop the practice by some of using the Pilgrim as an emergency GP surgery rather than the correct use as an Accident and Emergency department. This would be a win-win situation for the GPs, our consultants and nurses at the Pilgrim and finally better services for all people living in Boston.”
A spokesman for the clinical commissioning group said a review of health services including A&Es has been ongoing for the last 18 months.
They did not reveal whether a walk-in centre formed part of that review but said pharmacies, GPs and the 111 phone number were all available to help with care. They said a CCG representative had met with borough councillors to discuss issues in Boston.
Coun Woodliffe told The Standard:“I raised the issue of people failing to register with a GP practice which in turn places an unreasonable demand upon the Pilgrim’s A&E department and also results in Lincolnshire receiving less funding than it deserves.”
○For more from the summit and staffing issues at the hospital, see next week’s Standard.