LETTER: Pilgrim Hospital must be protected from cuts


I read with great interest your article’s in this week’s Standard regardling Pilgrim Hospital and the possible/probable cuts and changes that the NHS/ULH trust and government are planning.

I am totally with you and supportive of what you say.

I came to Lincolnshire from London in 1979 to work at Pilgrim Hospital.

I was senior registrar in general medicine, cardiology and respiratory medicine at St Mary’s Hospital and the Royal Brompton Hospital, before coming here.

I was appointed to a consultant post at Pilgrim Hospital with the same special interests.

The Pilgrim Hospital then was basically brand-new - a concrete slab in a large green field!

The object of having a hospital in Boston then was to bring teaching hospital expertise to the local people so they did not have to travel great distances for investigations and treatment as they did in the past.

At that time we only had a handful of speciality doctors and nurses - no physiologists/technicians, very few junior doctors and the Government had no money to help us consultants who had come here from teaching hospitals in major centres to get the service moving and/or provide the appropriate equipment.

What did we do? We went to the local population. I gave many talks in Boston to local people and also wrote many press articles on health care and what was needed to provide the appropriate services.

The Standard then was our main and only local newspaper and responded very well.

The local populace responded magnificently and through their financial support over a 20-year period and more we made Pilgrim Hospital an outstanding district general hospital.

The hospital became well recognised and won prizes in health care in the UK.

We had teaching hospital attachments at Leicester, London and Nottingham to name but a few.

Through a number of my charities, with local financial help from patients and businesses nearly £10 million has now been raised and used at Pilgrim Hospital.

This enabled us to set up paramedic training, the Lincs Air Ambulance, cardiac rehabilitation, resuscitation training and officers and equipment such as CT and MRI scanners and echo scanners, plus loads of cardiac and respiratory equipment for the hospital and GPs.

We were one of the first district general hospitals to have all these services in the UK.

As a Pilgrim Hospital Trust in the 1990s were were supreme and in litte debt.

Lincoln Hospital at that time was in a worse situation.

The Government then moved in to form the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust (ULHT) - to save money!

In the next decade we saw more and more of the services that local people provided at Pilgrim Hospital slowly but surely reduced and more moved to Lincoln Hospital.

I retired from Pilgrim Hospital at the age of 65 in 2008, under great pressure from management.

I was allowed to work part-time until I reached 69 in 2012 but no more after that for the NHS. I continued privately at PIlgrim Hospital for one more year and then retired completely.

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.

Their financial support for the hospital has, and still is, outstanding and a supreme example for other areas to follow.

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.

My charity work for the Pilgrim Hospital continues with the Pilgrim Heart and Lung Fund (PHLF).

I am toally in support of the petition to save our hospital and services.

Dr Cyril Nyman