Mums fear maternity merger will lead to deaths

Mums are worried that any downgrade of Boston Pilgrim Hospital’s maternity unit will leave the health of pregnant women and their babies at risk.

The status of maternity units across the county is currently under review and health chiefs last week met with campaigners who fear cuts to local NHS services, including maternity.

A leading health commissioner told them that plans to move services to a single site was one of two options being considered.

Work is ongoing on a £3.7m new 18-bed maternity unit at the hospital.

Two mums who suffered compilcations during their pregnancies said fear the cuts would result in less care and might lead to the death of a child.

Kylie Horry, 33, from Boston said: “It’s absolutely downright dangerous for women who are not fortunate enough to have straightforward pregnancies.

“I developed pre-eclampsia during my pregnancy. I was told it was too dangerous to travel as far as Lincoln and I would have to go to Boston, that was medically trained staff that told me Lincoln was too far to travel.

“So the idiots who suggest closing Pilgrim will end up with blood on their hands.”

Jess Smith, 26, from Boston, told the Target she gave birth so quickly, that she doubts whether she would have made it to Lincoln Hospital in time.

She said: “I spent months in the hospital with a complicated pregnancy and then nearly gave birth in the car three weeks early. Luckily, Pilgrim was only a few minutes away and we managed to just about get onto the ward in time.”

Tracy Le added: “We need to expand it, not reduce the service.”

Plans to centralise consultant-led maternity services in a single Lincolnshire hospital were first talked about more than two years ago as part of a blueprint to look at more sustainable health services. They might use community midwife teams. Another proposal involves a two site service, possibly involving a single team.

A spokesman for Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group would not confirm or deny if the maternity unit could close – or the status of the multi-million pound new building.

He said: “Our challenge is to provide the best possible services for our whole population with the resources we have available. Patient safety is the priority and the work we have been doing has been based on clinical evidence, best practice and the views and input of our clinicians and our residents.

“We realise that keeping all our services the same is not an option for the future. Our services sometimes cannot meet clinical guidelines and national standards, and we struggle to meet local demands and cope with workforce shortages within our rural, sparsely populated county.”

A petition has also been launched calling for services not to be downgraded at Pilgrim Hospital.

It has already gathered almost 4,000 signatures – and could trigger a House of Commons response if 10,000 signatures are reached.

Petition organiser and Focus Group campaigner Phillip Bosworth of said: “If somebody needed an emergency cesarean they would have to be taken from Boston by helicopter – anything more than 20 minutes journey would be too risky.

“They are putting at risk mums-to-be and newborn babies by pulling out of Pilgrim.”

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