Hospital trust offers reassurance over lack of Boston Pilgrim backup plan

Health bosses have said that steps are being taken to devise a backup plan for Boston children’s services despite the lack of a detailed proposal.

Members of the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire said that they were concerned that no detailed plan had been produced since the committee asked for it three months ago.

It comes as United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust produced a model designed to keep the children’s ward in Boston open following placing the service under review.

Chief Executive of ULHT Jan Sobieraj told members of the committee that it is the trust’s aim to maintain the service at Pilgrim.

Mr Sobieraj added that the model proposed to maintain the service at Pilgrim was still a “work in progress”.

A backup plan would be implemented should the model proposed by ULHT fail.

This would mean that extra space would need to be made at paediatrics at Lincoln County Hospital in order to cope with extra patients.

The proposed 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)

But Chair of the Health Scrutiny Panel, Councillor Carl Macey, said the committee still had “reservations” about the lack of a contingency plan.

“What we want to see is that it is all worked out correctly,” he said.

“At the moment in time, we have not seen any statistics as to whether neighbouring hospitals are going to be able to cope with the increased number of patients attending these hospitals.”

Michelle Rhodes, Director of Nursing at ULHT, said work is ongoing at trust sites, such as Lincoln County Hospital, to ensure contingencies are in place.

“We are working on it but we have been concentrating on keeping the services at the Pilgrim site,” she said.

“There’s quite a lot of work being done in the background about what will happen if we do have to move the services over to Lincoln.

“I think I would assure people that we are not just winging it, we are putting a lot of effort in to ensure that everything that needs to happen can be switched on at Lincoln if it needs to be done.”