Grantham Hospital will play a key part in the future of the NHS in Lincolnshire, says a hospitals trust director.
Dr Suneil Kapadia, Medical Director for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), was speaking at a meeting of the board of the ULHT on Tuesday which approved a five-year strategy for clinical services.
The strategy will see fewer beds in our hospitals, more care at home and some services consolidated to single sites to avoid duplication.
A number of factors mean that the NHS in Lincolnshire has to change radically to cope with new pressures and a deficit which, if not dealt with, could reach £100 million by 2018. The trust currently has a £26 million deficit.
Dr Kapadia said that to do nothing is not an option.
In response to the Journal, he said: “Grantham Hospital will play a key part in the future of ULHT. In particular, we see that enhancing and increasing elective surgery at Grantham is highly desirable.
“Both Grantham and Louth will play an increasing role in delivering that elective work, including day surgery.
He added: “The case for change is overwhelming. Demand is rising from an ageing population, we’re moving towards seven day working which requires us to work differently, and there are severe financial pressures.
“Above all we want to deliver the highest-quality care possible for our patients. This means ensuring that we meet the strict standards expected of us.”
The five-year strategy is based on a number of principles. These include keeping open all hospitals and providing services locally where it is safe and affordable to do so.
Jane Lewington, ULHT Chief Executive, said: “There will be difficult decisions that need to be made and we are not at that stage yet. Over the next few months we will have to roll up our sleeves and see where we get with that.”
In the trust’s ‘clinical vision’, it says there should be “maximum use of Grantham and Louth for elective work, thereby ensuring their future viability”.
It also states that there should be “fewer hospital beds with sufficient protected elective beds to consistently meet patients’ expectations for waiting times and timely access.”
The vision also says there should be an “increased focus on Pilgrim and Lincoln for a broad range of emergency services where it is safe and viable to do so”.
** A new chairman of the ULHT board was appointed this week. He is Ron Buchanan, who has had a 30 year career in corporate banking. He has held a number of posts with hospitals and trusts. In his new role, he is entitled to receive a remuneration of £45,000 per year.