‘Unscrupulous’ recruits adding to hospital woe

Boston's Pilgrim Hospital
Boston's Pilgrim Hospital

Unscrupulous recruits are adding to fears about the future of children’s services at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, it has been claimed.

Many families in the Horncastle and Coningsby areas rely on the Paediatric Unit for often life-changing treatment.

The unit is under threat because of staff shortages, sparking concerns about safety.

Last week, Health Education England (HEE) warned junior doctors will be withdrawn 
from a children’s ward in August - unless senior staffing levels improve.

HEE has previously raised concerns about the safety of patients - and staff - due to the shortage of senior personnel.

Fiona Martin, a long-serving Horncastle town and district councillor, has backed bosses in their battle to recruit 
more staff.

She said health chiefs at the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust were ‘doing everything they could’ to boost staffing levels - including offering incentives.

However, she claimed some potential recruits were effectively playing one area health authority against another by using the offer of an incentive to move to Lincolnshire to 
secure a better contract with their current employers.

Coun Martin, speaking at a town council meeting, said: “I’m afraid this is going on and it is very sad. Unfortunately, you will always find there are one or two unscrupulous people in all walks of life.”

Coun Martin revealed she had attended a presentation by health service chiefs at East Lindsey District Council about on-going staffing issues and the future of children’s services .

She said: “They are doing everything they can but the issue is one of staff and recruitment.

“No-one wants the service to close but it has to be safe.”

Coun Martin was asked by town councillor Angela Birchall if bosses at the ULHT were exploring every avenue to recruit staff - including incentives.

Coun Martin said: “They are trying everything, absolutely everything.

“I think we all aware there is a national shortage (of staff) and Lincolnshire is one of the places people do not seem to want to come.

“It is not just the health sector. It is the same in a lot of professions.”

ULHT says it is working hard to address staffing and stressed a number of options were being explored regarding the future of children’s services - including 
a temporary closure.