Councillors have joined the fight to save vital services at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.
There are fears United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust (ULHT) is considering relocating Boston’s Accident and Emergency and Maternity departments as part of a huge savings programme.
At a full council meeting of Boston Borough Council on Monday, all but one of the members voted to support a motion to voice their concerns to the chief executive of ULHT.
“If services were to be moved away to Lincoln it may well be the slippery slope for Pilgrim Hospital ceasing to be the hospital it is now,” Coun Stephen Woodliffe told members.
“We have to fight for our hospital in Boston – but also to recognise there’s a serious issue regarding finances.”
The motion put forward - and passed -by Coun Woodliffe said the council opposes the relocation of Accident and Emergency, Maternity and other acute services from Pilgrim, because such decisions would ‘put patient safety at risk’.
“I don’t want Boston to be in a position where people have got to go to Lincoln,” said Coun Woodliffe.
“If I have a heart attack and fall over I don’t want to be rushed to Lincoln, I want to be looked after at Pilgrim. That golden hour is important for a decent chance of surviving. We want to support our local hospital and see it remain viable for the future - but we have to accept that ULHT has a massive problem on its hands that’s not going to be pushed away easily.”
Coun Paul Kenny added: “One of the real issues affecting our health services is recruiting. If we don’t have the staff we will, by default, lose services. We need to encourage doctors and nurses to come and work in the town so we can have a hospital to be proud of in the future.”
The council’s support for the campaign comes amid news that ULHT’s mortality rate has fallen to the lowest rate for eight years.
New data on mortality rates show the 2013/14 score for the trust is 98.4, down from 109 in the previous year - the national average is set at 100.
The figure is the lowest since 2006/07.
The trust was placed in ‘special measures’ after its higher-than-expected mortality rate for 2012/13 prompted a review by Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director for England.
The Standard and sister papers lauched the ‘Save Our Services’ campaign in October. More than 300 readers of The Standard, Lincolnshire Free Press, Spalding Guardian, Skegness Standard, Sleaford Standard and Horncastle News have filled out coupons opposing any closures.
The Standard will continue to collect coupons to present to the trust and has also launched an online petition to try to force a debate at County Hall. That can be signed at http://epetitionslincolnshire.firmstep.com