July 15, 2019 1.34 pm This story is over 29 months old

£2.3m cost for Boston children’s ward after seven months

Officials said they hope to reduce the cost

The cost of dealing with the crisis at Boston Pilgrim Hospital children’s ward hit nearly £2.3 million after seven months.

Latest figures revealed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust show the total cost for the period up to March 2019 was £2.218 million.

ULHT introduced an “interim” model in August 2018 at the hospital’s paediatrics ward after concerns over severe staffing shortages.

Officials said the main reason for the cost was emergency ambulance transfers put in place by the trust.

A six month review by ULHT showed payments to medical staff, consultants and project management also contributed to the final cost of £2.1 million by February 2019.

£1.2 million was spent on payments to staff, while £758,940 was spent on non-pay related costs such as an ambulance transport service and recruitment expenses.

Boston Pilgrim Hospital. Photo: Google Street View

But bosses at the trust said they expect the cost of running the model to reduce.

A spokesperson for ULHT said: “We expect this to reduce by reviewing ambulance provision, recruiting substantive doctors and working with Health Education England to deploy junior doctors more efficiently.”

ULHT introduced the model, which saw the ward become a 24 hour assessment unit, back in August 2018.

It followed a review by the trust due to severe staffing shortages in its paediatric service.

The trust said the service has been safe, but that the recruitment of children’s doctors and nurses was still an “area of concern”.

Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at ULHT.

Meanwhile, the acute services review has proposed that a similar model continue at Boston Pilgrim and that an assessment unit be set up at Lincoln County Hospital.

Officials said the proposals are part of the ongoing “Healthy Conversations” engagement process.

Dr Neill Hepburn, medical director at ULHT, said the model has provided a “good and safe” service since it was introduced.

“The model was put in because of pressure particularly around not enough doctors and to a lesser extent not enough nurses,” he said.

“The model has provided a very good, safe and effective service that for many patients is better than the one we had before and like any service we provide there is areas for improvement.”

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