United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has launched its interim service for the beleagured children’s and maternity services at Pilgrim Hospital, in Boston.
The new arrangements to cope with the ongoing staff shortage of middle grade doctors began today (Wednesday August 1).
Over the last few weeks the Trust says it has been filling rotas and planning and testing care pathways for women and children who use Pilgrim Hospital, to ensure that when the new model was ready it will be safe for patients and their families.
The Trust’s advice to all patients is, ‘if you or your child are ill to call 111, visit your GP or attend A&E if necessary, where you will be assessed and the appropriate care plan decided upon’.
Pregnant women and carers with regular attending children should carry on accessing the hospital as usual, if anything needs to change this will be included in care plans.
As previously announced the new model will operate as follows:
• Outpatient clinics continuing at Pilgrim
• Pilgrim managing only low-risk neonatal births
• A 24 hour paediatric assessment and observation unit (PAU) established on the children’s ward at Pilgrim, offering restricted periods of observation
• Children’s day surgery remaining at Pilgrim
• Consultant-led maternity birthing unit remaining at Pilgrim
• 98 per cent of current activity remaining at Pilgrim
As the Trust has now managed to secure the provision of two extra private ambulances a little sooner than previous thought, the interim model is now ready to be put in place.
It means the service will be run with the back-up of short-term agency staff, many on occasional shifts, but funding has also been approved for two additional locum doctors.
Members of the ULHT’s executive met last week to discuss the situation at Pilgrim Hospital.
According to the trust’s own financial reports, ULHT has planned for a £1 million risk on paediatrics within its deficit plan for 2018/19.
But, director of finance at the trust, Karen Brown, said the final number could be more than that.
She said that anything above a £1 million cost would be “adverse” to ULHT’s financial plan.
The figure would include further financial commitments over the next year, such as private ambulances and agency staff.
This new operational model will be closely monitored over the next few weeks while continuing efforts are made to bolster recruitment.
The Trust apologises for any inconvenience but feels the changes are necessary to provide safe services for all families across Lincolnshire.