Hospital bosses spell out contingency plans for ‘fragile’ children’s services at Pilgrim Hospital at board meeting

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Health bosses have laid out contingency plans should a new model at Boston Pilgrim Hospital’s children’s ward collapse – but said they are currently pleased with the progress.

Dr Neil Hepburn, medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, told members at a board meeting that only 24 patients were transferred in the first two weeks.

However, he said the trust was expecting numbers to increase as children started going back to school.

He added that bosses recognised the system, which has had to be introduced due to staffing issues, was ‘fragile’.

“It’s been working well,” he said. “Without incident but it is still fragile.”

If the new temporary model does not work, the contingency plans could see people moved to Lincoln County with space made on the fourth floor of the tower block.

This will mean moving wards on the tower block to another building on the site and an increase in bed numbers at Lincoln.

However, Dr Hepburn told members that forward planning was for the safety of patients.

He told the meeting that no neonatal babies or children who did not require additional treatment had been transferred out of Lincolnshire due to lack of beds.

The only reasons for transfer had been clinical or patient choice.

Speaking following the meeting he said: “It’s really going very well. We’re tracking it very carefully, we’re looking to see if there’s any problems. If transports working properly and if patients are coming to harm. And there’s been no harm.

“So far it has all gone very well indeed.”

Two ambulances have been purchased for the new model and crews, when not transferring patients, have been utilised within the Accident and Emergency Units.

The cost of the new model will be £1.75 million until December 31, with this rising to £2.68 million by the end of the financial year if it continues until then.

The trust estimates that the model will cost around £310,655 a month.

ULHT had estimated that the cost of the service would be between £1m and £4m.