Lincolnshire hospitals: Review reveals 'radical' plans

Urgent accident and emergency services in Lincolnshire could be moved onto one site under proposals to curb the health trust's multi-million pound deficit.

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust was placed in special measures in October, following critical reports into patient care.

The plan, part of the Lincolnshire Sustainable Services Review (LSSR), is due to be discussed next week.

Debts will rise to £105m in five years if nothing is done, the review said.

In its executive summary Dr Tony Hill, LSSR board chair, states: "If we don't sort this situation then people from outside will sort it for us and the locus of control will move from within Lincolnshire making closer working even more difficult.

"We're talking about most people being able to be treated much closer to home but a few people who need really specialist services are likely to have to go a little bit further than they do now."

'Cost pressures'

"Big brave ideas" in the LSSR include constructing a purpose-built paediatric unit in a central location and consolidating maternity services.

Although Grantham Hospital has already closed its birthing unit, the LSSR states: "It is acknowledged that this relocation of services is not currently improving the system-wide deficit."

Other problems highlighted include difficulty in recruiting staff - most of the issues identified in the Keogh Review and subsequent Care and Quality Commission inspection were down to a lack of staff.

The review concludes: "With a current system-wide (health and social care) deficit of £20.8m, if current services were continued, we would have an annual overspend of just over £105m in five years' time.

"A radical and innovative approach is needed to develop sustainable solutions adding scale and pace to how we collectively manage this change."

The trust is due to be inspected again next spring and only then can it be taken out of special measures.

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