Lincolnshire

Matt Warman MP interview: Boston children’s ward, ‘democratic oversights’ and Brexit

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman said that he will make sure any paediatric visas are “top of the pile” at the Home Office in light of staffing issues at Boston Pilgrim’s children’s ward.

In an interview with the Lincolnshire Reporter, Mr Warman said that he will ensure that applications that come to the government will be sped through as part of their role in the process.

It comes after United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust set up a review of the service due to a lack of staff available to cover the ward this coming August.

Mr Warman said: “Although there is a cap on the number of visas overall, paediatrics are excluded from that cap.

“In so far as there is a role for the Home Office to ensure that those paediatric applications are sped through as soon as possible, I’ve said that as soon as any application comes forward then I will be making sure that the Home Office knows that as far as I’m concerned it should be top of the pile.”

Boston Pilgrim Hospital. Picture: Steve Smailes

Progress at Boston Pilgrim children’s ward

Mr Warman said that progress has been made at the children’s ward at Pilgrim but raised concern about Health Education East Midlands considering withdrawing junior doctors.

It was revealed at a previous ULHT meeting that the health education body was considering the decision.

The Conservative MP said that the concerns of the education authority were “legitimate” but added that the problem “needs to be worked through”.

He said: “It’s been if you like four steps forward and some steps back.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman. Photo: Lincolnshire Reporter

“We’ve got to make sure that we work through those problems because ultimately I start from the position that people are not traveling unsafe distances to get to the healthcare that they need.”

“Democratic oversight” in the health service

Mr Warman said that more “democratic oversight” is needed in the health service.

But, the Boston MP added that this does not mean politicians getting involved in the system.

He said: “The thing that people contact me most about is how long it takes them to get an appointment at there GP

“That’s because the vast majority of our contact within the health service is with GPs and primary care rather than through hospitals.

“There is no mechanism, if you like, for anyone to say: ‘what the public wants is the ability to make an appointment in the next two weeks’ for instance.

“How can we ask the health service: ‘How can you provide that and what do you need to provide that?’”

Mr Warman added that this does not mean the public should ignore expertise of health professionals but that there are some things that people would like to see that are not being delivered.

Revisiting Greater Lincolnshire devolution

The Boston MP said that he set up meetings between the Department for Communities and the county’s council leaders to see if there was a way to “rejuvenate” the Greater Lincolnshire deal.

Leaders across the region had informal discussions with the department regarding the issue.

Mr Warman organised the meeting with the department minister following the region’s decision in 2016 to reject a previous deal.

But, he said that there was “an awful lot of money” on the table last time to not revisit the issue again.

He said: “I’ve convened this meeting with the current minister to say: ‘Look as far as I’m concerned there was an awful lot of money and power for Lincolnshire last time round’

“For a number of reasons it didn’t end up proceeding, I think at the very least we need to understand if there is a way of rejuvenating that process.”

Mr Warman added that if there does not end up being a way of reigniting the deal then the leaders need to leave no stone unturned.”

Brexit and the customs union

The UK being able to make its own trade deals is the key issue within the Brexit customs union negotiations, according the Boston MP Matt Warman.

The government currently has two options that it is considering on a future customs union.

One would see the UK offer the European Union a deal on collecting tariffs on trade by itself and the other would see minimised checks on goods at the border with companies paying in bulk.

But Mr Warman said that his concern is delivering on what people voted for rather than arguing over the technical details.

He said: “My main concern is making sure that we deliver on what I think people voted for.

“Rather than arguing over the very technical details, we need a system that works, we don’t necessary need to tie ourselves up in knots on some of those details.”