A motion calling for beds to be maintained at Louth Hospital sparked a debate over quantity versus quality.
Councillors voted en masse to an amended call for the number of beds and services at Louth Hospital to be maintained.
Independent Councillor George Horton made the original motion who warned of “an increasingly elderly population coupled with the impact of rural poverty and deprivation, our struggling ambulance provision, the lack of public transport and our adopted District Plan giving rise to the building of thousands of new homes within East Lindsey.”
However, an amendment put forward by council leader Councillor Craig Leyland instead asked Lincolnshire East CCG to ‘maintain the quality and level of services’.
He called on the authority to recognise a recent ‘outstanding’ Care Quality Commission rating for the hospital and ‘urged the LECCG to maintain this level of excellence’.
The amended motion also ‘implored’ healthcare bosses to engage in ‘full and proper consultation’ before making a decision.
However, a number of councillors disagreed with a call to nominate a specific number of beds, with 40 being proposed.
Councillor Ros Jackson said it was good to recognise the CQC report but said: “We need to recognise as well that 20 beds is not 50 – there has been a downgrade. We need to recognise the strength of feeling about this downgrade of hospital services we are seeing.”
Councillor Tony Howard said there had been a ‘loss of faith’ in the management, and criticised the amendment for not ‘holding anybody’s feet to the flames’.
However, Councillor Graham Marsh said it was “not about the number of beds, but the type of treatment that we can give” and said it was what gave “the best outcome”.
He said healthcare could get people home quicker now and that could be better for the patients. He warned of the level of muscle wasting that people such as the elderly could suffer in hospital beds.
Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders agreed with Councillor Marsh’s sentiments and called beds a ‘red herring’.
She implored councillors to take into account the risks of infection adding: “Hospitals are sometimes very dangerous places to be.”
She said it was wrong to knock the management and make them out to ‘be some kind of criminals’.
Council leader Craig Leyland concluded that the authority needed to show the administration that they were ready to scrutinise when the full plans by healthcare bosses were revealed.
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