Council’s ‘no confidence’ in hospital chiefs

Pilgrim Hospital, playing host to a Brave the Save fundraiser.
Pilgrim Hospital, playing host to a Brave the Save fundraiser.

The Boston Council vote of no confidence in the bosses of the trust which runs Boston’s Pilgrim sends a clear message that ‘enough is enough’ say some of the councillors who supported it.

A full meeting of the council unanimously backed the motion, which also calls on the leader and chief executive of the council to raise the authority’s concerns regarding the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust to the Government and Boston’s MP.

One of those behind getting the issue raised in the council chamber, Cllr David Brown, said: “We hope this will send a strong and clear message to the trust that we are not happy.”

The original motion calling for urgent talks with the trust was tabled by Cllr Martin Griggs and seconded by Cllr Brown.

But an amendment was put forward by Cllr Paul Gleeson, which Cllr Griggs supported, introducing the idea of a ‘no confidence’ vote in the trust leadership.

Cllr Gleeson’s amendment said: “Boston Borough Council fully supports the hard-working staff at Pilgrim Hospital but has no confidence in the ability of the senior management of the ULHT to resolve the ongoing situation at the Pilgrim Hospital and the distress this is causing to the people of Boston and all those who use the hospital.

“We therefore call on the leader and Chief Executive of this council to work with and support our local MP 
(Matt Warman) in taking these concerns to government, the Lincolnshire Health and Wellbeing Board and the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.”

The motion comes on the back of severe staffing concerns at Pilgrim Hospital which forced the trust to place the paediatrics service under review, and threatened a temporary closure of the children’s ward.

Members of the executive board at ULHT recently voted through plans to maintain paediatric and maternity services at Pilgrim Hospital past August 1.

The service will now be run on an ‘interim model’, meaning majority of women and children admitted to Pilgrim would continue to be seen and assessed there.

Contingency planning will continue “in case the model is not possible”.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Gleeson said: “We have had enough.

“We are being forced into a situation where we are not going to have a very good service provision in Boston at all. This isn’t about the staff of course but the level of service we have.

“Cllr Griggs spoke very well at the meeting and accepted my amendment. The problem is, the trust don’t seem to have the skill set to engage with the community.”

Cllr Brown said what the trust had put forward was not clear enough.

“We run the risk of Boston becoming a poor cousin if we don’t fight this. We need to sit down with the trust and 
be told exactly what their plan is.”

Responding to the council vote, a ULHT spokesperson said: “We understand there is concern from members of the public regarding the staffing situation at Pilgrim Hospital which very much reflects the national shortage of paediatricians.

“We would like to reassure everyone that we are doing everything we can to work up plans that will enable us to sustain services at the hospital.

“We are working very closely with our local MP and appreciate his support.

“We will continue to work with the local authority, members of the public, patients and staff during this challenging period.”

A further update on the service is expected from the trust board on July 27.