Boston

Matt Warman: More to be done to keep Boston paediatrics

More needs to be done to maintain children’s services at Boston Pilgrim Hospital, according to the town’s MP.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman welcomed the decision made at a United Lincolnshire Hospital’s Trust meeting to keep the service going beyond August 1 on an ‘interim model’

But, he said that the trust “can go further” in addressing how the changes agreed could affect patients.

“A few months ago we were talking about the closure of the children’s ward and a lot of paediatric services at Pilgrim,” he said.

“That’s no longer on the table, now we’re talking about the 98% of children that are still being seen at Pilgrim and if that is enough.

“That’s a massive amount of progress, but I think we can go further.

“I think we can say ‘how does this affect the most seriously ill children getting the treatment that they need as close to home?”

Members of the trust board heard on June 29 that the hospital would run an ‘interim model’ for paediatric and maternity services.

This means the majority of women and children admitted to Pilgrim would continue to be seen and assessed there.

It will also mean some services will be slightly changed and some babies and children will be transferred to other sites.

The model will see:

  • Outpatient clinics continuing at Pilgrim
  • Pilgrim managing only low-risk neonatal births (above 34 weeks gestation)
  • A 24 hour children’s assessment and observation unit established on the children’s ward at Pilgrim, offering restricted periods of observation
  • Paediatric day surgery remaining at Pilgrim
  • Consultant-led maternity unit remaining at Pilgrim
  • 98% of current activity remaining at Pilgrim (the exceptions will be the transfer of small numbers of babies pre 34-weeks gestation or who require more intensive care and children needing more than 12 hours observation)

Medical Director for ULHT, Dr Neill Hepburn, said: “The staffing situation in the Pilgrim paediatric department remains difficult, as we remain reliant on short-term agency staff, many of whom only work occasional shifts.”

He added: “This model is still a work in progress, with some of the detail yet to be worked up, but in principle it has been agreed that it will begin from August 1, running until the end of the year.”

A further update on the situation at Boston Pilgrim’s paediatric service will be made at board meeting on July 27.