I read with interest your headline report and David Bowles’ views on the problems and progress at our hospital the Pilgrim.
Former chairman of ULHT David Bowles makes some good points about the running of hospitals in a generally low paid area like Lincolnshire, but medical staff at all levels are rightly paid at national rates, with London the UK’s only world city understandably having higher rates. To have regional pay would cause many well qualified staff to dismiss working in the county even though housing is cheaper than elsewhere they would find it difficult sell if they eventually decided to gain promotion outside the county.
Mr Bowles mentions that: “For some years hospitals have been paid on a sort of schedule of rates, so much for an A&E case, particular test, type of operation and so on”. He goes on correctly to say: “They also do not take into account that Lincolnshire hospitals are all relatively small and so cannot get economies of scale so it will actually be more expensive here”. He also could have mentioned high transport costs and inadequate roads connected to Boston such as the A16 and that it and others should be mainly dual carriageways.
ULHT’s reply to Mr Bowles is that hospital funding was set by a fixed national tariff, but I am not at all surprised that ‘neither the Department of Health or NHS England was able to clarify the matter’, according to The Standard. Having been informed of the principle of how it works, it seems to me that it based on property values so no wonder Boston and Lincolnshire lose out. The impression I get is that either the Department of Health and NHS England do not know in enough detail how the system operates and are therefore unable to explain it to the public or are just unwilling to do so. They should be more open with the public.
There is one positive set of results that come out of the statistics that the Boston Standard has done a public service by providing. This being the need to keep Pilgrim Hospital open as a major hospital is so obvious that all Bostonians and others elsewhere in the county who use it should unite and campaign to keep it open and not allow it to be reduced to being a cottage hospital.