Healthcare plan is ‘airy-fairy’

Lincoln County Hospital
Lincoln County Hospital

Major healthcare plans which aim to save £130 million across Lincolnshire have again been heavily criticised – with a key document being dubbed ‘airy-fairy’ and ‘full of contradictions’.

Health bosses are looking to create a streamlined service across the county by 2021, and has included a raft of proposals in the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Lincoln County Hospital

Lincoln County Hospital

The report was produced by Lincolnshire Health and Care and considers options including moving consultant-led maternity to Lincoln, with Boston being downgraded.

There are also options which would see Grantham lose its A&E status and the centralisation of some services – including Acute Care provision – between Louth and Skegness.

But at Linconshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee meeting last Wednesday (December 21) Coun Steve Palmer declared: “It’s full of repetition, padding and contradictions. It’s just too airy-fairy.

“Part of it seeks to shift responsibilities from the NHS to the county council which would face additional pressure on its adult and social care resources.”

Coun Sue Wray expressed concern that there was no reference to shortfalls in county neurology resources and added: “Every neurology patient referral is now going out of the county.

Committee chairman Coun Christine Talbot was disappointed that palliative, end-of-life care had also missed out on discussion in the report.

She expressed outrage that,over the past three years – during which the report has been compiled – the total cost of its production had reached £4.3 million – plus £67,000 in PR costs.

Coun Rosemary Kaberry-Brown said the money would have been better spent on nursing and other care activities.

Committee vice-chairman Coun Chris Brewis said the report failed to take into account a ‘tsunami’ of problems over the horizon as a result of people living longer and having complex medical needs.

Gary James, of Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group, acknowledged that some of the language might not be easy to understand. He said: “It’s an NHS document, not a public-facing document.

He said the underlying principle was that more health care needed to be delivered within the home rather than in hospitals or related facilities.

The report, while praising the hard work of staff to, accepts widespread shortfalls in the level of healthcare in Lincolnshire.