Lincolnshire

Boston paediatrics backup plan is ‘for crisis only’

Health bosses have insisted that a backup plan for Boston children’s services would only be used “if there is a crisis”.

Measures were put in place by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to run the paediatrics unit at Pilgrim Hospital on an interim model.

This was in August after the trust put the service under review over concerns due to severe staffing shortages.

The trust did not have enough middle grade doctors to run the paediatric service full and safely.

It is now run with the back-up of short-term agency staff, many on occasional shifts.

It includes a 12 hour assessment unit, outpatient clinic and surgery at the hospital.

ULHT have also drawn up a backup plan for the ward to put in place should the new model fail.

The contingency proposal would see patients transferred to Lincoln County Hospital where more bed space would be created.

Carl Macey, chair of the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire.

Bosses at ULHT have previously said that the situation at Pilgrim remains “fragile”.

But SOS Pilgrim campaigner Alison Marriott said that the move would not be safe.

“It would be too far for patients to go to Lincoln,” she said.

Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at ULHT, said that the plan drawn up would only be used in serious circumstances.

“This is not a plan that we are looking to implement,” he said.

“If there is a crisis, then we would be able to ensure patient safety.”

Meanwhile, Carl Macey, chair of the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire, said that the plan is still a concern for the committee.

“I don’t feel like they have moved the contingency plan on,” he said.

“That is still a serious concern for us, once again we have asked them to come back to us again.

“We want to see a bit more information around that contingency plan.”

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