LETTER: Concern for the most vulnerable in society

As a resident of Sutton-on-Sea/Sandilands area I care about the most vulnerable people in our community.

I am very concerned that an elderly lady has allegedly been discharged from hospital into her empty home.

Our area is very isolated in the winter months so I would have expected a discharge plan to have been in place. At the very least, a relative should have been notified prior to the patient leaving hospital.

I don’t, however, blame the hospital, the patient’s experience is surely symptomatic of deep Government cuts to the NHS.

With £20bn already being saved, there are bound to be tough decisions about the availability of hospital beds and staffing levels - how to meet A&E targets and catering for emergency admissions/beds.

Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group, which organises the delivery of NHS community services in our area, reported in the Boston Standard that the Government’s pledge to spend more on the NHS will actually mean they get £21,000 less than the indicative allocation announced in December 2013. It is unclear how this will affect care in the community.

If things remain unchanged, in five years’ time health and care organisations in Lincolnshire will have a combined budget deficit of over £100m per year. It needs to be acknowledged that Lincolnshire Health and Care group is having to work hard to design better ways of providing healthcare services for a growing and ageing population that will provide residents with access to safe, good quality services closer to home, avoiding, where possible, long hospital stays.

Meanwhile, hospitals in Lincolnshire are bearing the brunt of the cuts and having to recruit overseas staff, while large numbers of unemployed young people on the Lincolnshire coast are looking for work.

As a father of two, I am perplexed as to why this Government hasn’t invested more in young people in our area. Surely young people could have been trained locally to care for our ageing population.

Seasonal work means many will move away, which is hardly good news for the local economy and community development.

Having lobbied the Government to invest in young people in our area it is frustrating that their term of office has provided no sea change.

What is needed now is a new progressive government that is not focused on austerity and responds to local people’s initiatives.

I hope the lady gets better soon and wish her all the best for the future.

Alan Gurbutt

Crabtree Lane, Sutton-on-Sea