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DEPARTMENT FOR HEALTH: LINCOLNSHIRE HEALTH AND CARE REVIEW MUST “FOCUS ON PATIENT OUTCOMES”

The Government’s response to a petition about the future of services at Pilgrim Hospital has made clear that any changes must focus on improving patient outcomes, consider patient choice, and be based on sound clinical evidence.

Welcoming the response, Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman said, “The Government has taken this opportunity to remind the local clinicians who will take decisions on the future of the NHS in Lincolnshire that patients must come first when much-needed healthcare reforms are planned. I’m comforted that this is the view they too have expressed privately to me, but it is also clear that government will not allow patients to be worse off under new arrangements. Instead, we must balance the critical mass required for centres of excellence with healthcare equally accessible to all in our large, rural and sparsely populated county.”

The petition, created by Boston area resident Phillip Bosworth, was signed by 10,226 people, including 5,324 from the Boston and Skegness constituency, which triggered a response from Health ministers.

In the response, the Government recognised that many Lincolnshire residents are concerned about the Lincolnshire Health and Care review and its current proposals and noted that any reconfiguration of health services is a matter for local NHS commissioners, rather than central government.

However, it confirmed that commissioners must work with patients and the wider general public to ensure that any proposed changes will improve the quality and sustainability of healthcare services.

Matt said, “I am pleased that the Government has given this petition the attention it deserves, and agrees with me that any changes to NHS services in our area must be focused on ensuring the very best care for patients. It is right that decisions on healthcare services are made locally, as commissioners and clinicians will have the best knowledge of what our area needs. I must make clear that no decision on this matter has yet been made, and any planed changed will need to go through public consultation first. I will continue to work with all of our local health services and commissioners to ensure that any changes are in the best interest of patients. I hope in the meantime this response scotches baseless rumours around the future of our local NHS, and prompts the early publication of plans so that we can all look to a future that is better for patients and staff, and builds on recent new facilities, staff and recruitment at Pilgrim.”