Health bosses have released plans which could radically change the face of health services across the county and save £130 million by 2021.
The proposals – which have been a number of years in the making – includes the option to carry out all complicated births at Lincoln, with a mid-wife led service at Boston.
When this option was previously talked about campaigners feared the distances some expectant mums could be forced to travel – and resulted in a campaign to prevent the downgrading of any services at the site.
A petition by the Boston Focus Group reached more than the 10,000 signatures needed for a Government response.
Focus Group organiser Phillip Bosworth has previously told The Standard: “We are served with a poor road infrastructure and a largely agricultural working class population who have not the means or the availability of sufficient cheap public transport to get to Lincoln.
“We cannot be safely served from Lincoln both with normal or emergency situations by closing or downgrading services at Boston Pilgrim and moving them to Lincoln or elsewhere.”
New urgent care centres could be placed at the front of A&E.
Meanwhile, Grantham could lose it’s A&E all together and just become an urgent care centre – supported by other services.
The Lincolnshire Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) was released by Lincolnshire Health and Care (LHAC) yesterday (Tuesday) during a press conference after it was leaked on Monday - a week ahead of the official reveal.
Bosses say the plans aim to achieve:
l More investment in primary care and community services
l Joined up health and social care service
l Improved service effectiveness and the possible options to centralise some services ‘where it will deliver a better outcome for patients’.
STP lead Allan Kitt called the plans an ‘exciting opportunity for Lincolnshire’ .
He said: “For the first time we have a single plan to help us do this and we’re already making progress in a number of areas.
“The people of Lincolnshire deserve good quality care; we have a great opportunity now to overhaul the way our outdated services operate and provide care that is seamless and effective, where every pound spent delivers real benefit to our patients.”
The document includes a series of options across urgent care, women and children:
l New urgent care centres at the front of A&E at Lincoln and Boston
l Urgent care centre to replace A&E at Grantham
l Relocation of critical care to Lincoln
l Relocating vascular surgery from Boston to Lincoln
l Consolidating ‘hyper acute’ stroke services to Lincoln with a centralised ‘ Lincolnshire Stroke Unit’ and a single stroke team across Boston and Lincoln.
l Centralising all emergency paediatrics in Lincoln for mothers with complications
l Developing a paediatric assessment unit at Boston
l Having a single neonatal team across Lincoln and Boston with all neonatal services centred on Lincoln
l Having a single maternity team across Boston and Lincoln, with a consultant-led obstetrics service in Lincoln with midwifery-led units on both sites. This also has alternatives including centralising consultant-led obstetrics and maternity units at Lincoln or developing a standalone maternity unit at Boston and relocating obstetrics services to Lincoln.
l In Grantham, an option is to centralise planned cancer care at The Lincolnshire Breast Centre.
l The learning disabilities inpatient service in Lincoln could also be replaced with a community-based model
Organisers LHAC say no decision has been made and any changes will be subject to a full public consultation, which is planned to take place in May next year after any local elections.
It is estimated hospital services in Lincolnshire will overspend by £182 million by 2021 if no changes are made to how services are delivered.
The Lincolnshire Health and Care (LHAC) review began in 2013 but its final outcomes have been delayed by a series of events including the NHS England’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP), the EU Referendum, and a series of by-elections.
l More next week.