Focus group gives its verdict on Government response to Pilgrim petition

Pilgrim Hospital.
Pilgrim Hospital.

The group fighting to stop Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital being ‘downgraded’ has given its verdict on the Government’s response to its petition.

The Government has today (Friday) responded to the campaign, which called for a halt to a feared downgrading of the hospital, from the Boston Focus Group.

It said: “The Government recognises that people in Lincolnshire have concerns about the Lincolnshire Health and Care review and its current proposals, but the reconfiguration of health services is a matter for the NHS locally.

“Any changes to local services should be led by clinicians and patients, not from the top down.”

It added it has set out ‘strengthened criteria’ that it expects NHS service changes to meet.

The Boston Focus Group has since issued a statement to The Standard in response to the Government’s comments.

It first notes the length of time it took to receive a response (50 days), calling it ‘disappointing’.

The group then moved to stress a number of its concerns surrounding reviews into how healthcare is provided in Lincolnshire.

- It claimed that proposed changes to the service are being led from Lincoln County, ‘not from other regions like Pilgrim’.

- It argued there was a lack of transparency regarding the proposed changes and public consultation over them had not been broad enough.

- It voiced fears that, in light of Lincolnshire’s geography, patient safety would be at risk if services were centred at Lincoln.

“The fact is that Lincoln County hospital is not central but geographically in the North West of the county close to the Notts border.

“The large majority of the population is not in the North West.

“There are more than 240,000 people, a third of the population in the south east and east who are an hour or more away from the NW Lincoln County.

“We are served with a poor road infrastructure and a largely agricultural working class population who have not the means or the availability of sufficient cheap public transport to get to Lincoln.

”We cannot be safely served from Lincoln both with normal or emergency situations by closing or downgrading services at Boston Pilgrim and moving them to Lincoln or elsewhere. .”

The group also said the Government response was not sufficient and did not address the group’s concerns.