News that the petition calling on health authorities not to downgrade Pilgrim Hospital has reached over 10,000 signatures is to be welcomed. Apparently this total ‘triggers’ a response from the government and while the organisers acknowledge it won’t necessarily stop any downgrading it does show the support for the campaign from the area.
However, while 10,000 does seem a large number it appears small in relation to the area covered by Boston, Spalding, Skegness and other surrounding villages. We are told the population of Boston alone is now in excess of 55,000 and when you consider the other areas mentioned must also have increased their populations, together with the many villages in between, who all rely in the main on the services provided by Pilgrim, it seems there are a lot more signatures which could be gained.
As the letter from Ms Dainty says, over the past years we have watched services crumble as they have been squeezed out due to a lack of funding and a massive increase in population. We are all aware of the austerity measures in place, but surely someone somewhere in government – nationally or locally – must have realised what was happening to our area in particular and that the sudden influx was creating problems which were getting serious.
Some of the responsibility for the problems should lie in the hands of those in Government at the time they started (I’m certainly not blaming Matt Warman, and hopefully he will see the letter if he checks his column in the paper) and our local councillors. Nothing appeared to be done then and very little seems to be happening now although I presume there is support from local ‘leaders’ although the silence is deafening?
It is to be hoped that the petition might encourage someone ‘at the top’ to actually visit the area and see what is happening. I’m tempted to say this situation wouldn’t happen down south, where things seem to get done quicker; but as things are at the moment locally the last thing we need is a diminution of services at Pilgrim Hospital!