MP ‘lends a hand’ to hospital cuts protest

Skegness mum Shannon Elliott with MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman hand-printing to make a banner for a protest march in Boston to save services at the Pilgrim Hospital children's ward. ANL-180917-125628001
Skegness mum Shannon Elliott with MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman hand-printing to make a banner for a protest march in Boston to save services at the Pilgrim Hospital children's ward. ANL-180917-125628001

It was always going to be messy - but Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman was not put off when he met mums and dads campaigning to save the children’s ward at Pilgrim Hospital.

Mr Warman joined the campaigners at the Welcome Inn in Skegness and heard of their concerns should services being transferred to hospitals further away.

An afternoon of action preparing for the protest march in Boston on Sunday had been organised by Skegness mum Shannon Elliott, who says her 11-week-old baby Olivia would not be alive today had it not been for the care she received at Boston.

Dipping his hand in paint so a print of it could be added to the Skegness banner at the march, Mr Warman laughed: “This may just be the messiest thing I’ve been asked do as an MP today - but the day is young.

“Pilgrim Hospital clearly has recruiting issues which is what is the reason behind the changes being imposed at the children’s ward.

“But I have always believed parents in Skegness and Boston areas should be able to get the care they need at their local hospital, and that is why I am supporting the campaign.”

Also there to support the campaign was local WellChild Award winner Evie Toombes, who has spina bifida and has been treated at Pilgrim on many occasions. Sixteen year old Evie took the opportunity to talk to Mr Warman about why she had been taken off the open access list onto the children’s ward.

She said: “I used to have open access to the ward and everything was set up for me and staff knew exactly what to do. Now I have been taken off the list and have to go to A&E and potentially wait four hours to get on a ward.

“Last time I ended up on a ward on my own.

“I’m hoping to be at the march because the survival of this ward is important.”

Shannon said more than 26 families had gone along to help prepare for the march. She said: “When I got in touch with the campaigners in Boston I never expected I would be doing this. I’m delighted so many families have come along to help prepare for the march, and show we want to save the children’s ward.

“My baby might not have survived had I had to travel further - there are so many children in Skegness who need the ward to stay open for them.”

Rianna Glenville was there with fiance Sam Raynor and their 14-month-old baby Elijah.

“I’m here for Shannon and because we have a second baby on the way and we are worried.

“If we ever needed them the other hospitals are so far away - it’s scary.”

The campaigners are meeting again today (Wednesday) to finish the banner at the Vertigo Lounge at Skegness Town Football Club in Wainfleet Road from 1pm to 4pm.