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.
Coun George Horton made the original motion which 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 Coun 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 Lincolnshire East CCG 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.
Coun 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.”
Coun 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, Coun 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.
Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders called beds a ‘red herring’ and implored councillors to take into account the risks of infection adding: “Hospitals are sometimes very dangerous places to be.”
She said the motion made out the management to ‘be some kind of criminals’ and said it was wrong to knock them for it.
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.
• Louth Town Council met on Tuesday evening where a motion on the hospital, put forward by Coun Ros Jackson, was heavily amended and approved. On the same evening, the same original motion was put forward at Horncastle Town Council by Coun Dominic Hinkins, but this was rejected by his fellow councillors. Pick up next week’s newspaper (October 17) to read the full story.