Regardless of whether it is Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street waving to the world’s media on December 13, Greater Lincolnshire’s health chiefs will be watching.
Languishing in financial and quality special measures, both United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust require support.
Then there’s the staffing crisis and a failure to hit waiting time targets. But, one of the many pressing issues is how the local health service funds its modernisation plans.
Bosses at each trust have admitted that they have significant capital requirements in order to bring hospitals up to standard.
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Dr Peter Reading, chief executive at NLaG, said he needs around £150 million to “modernise” Scunthorpe General Hospital.
Meanwhile, Andrew Morgan, ULHT CEO, who made it no secret in August that he wants a “larger share of the cake” from government, needs £450 million.
The funding is required to bring health estates in the region up to standard.
Some of the buildings at the county’s hospitals are decades old and would cost more to repair for a short period of time than building new, modern facilities.
As Dr Reading put it when talking about Scunthorpe Hospital, some of the buildings are “designed for a different world and different health service”.
A portion of ULHT’s requirement falls into plans for a shakeup of services in the region.
One option which bosses in Lincolnshire, led by the STP, are looking at is creating a “centre of excellence” at Lincoln County Hospital for breast cancer care.
This would mean Lincoln would provide all first outpatient appointments, as well as the triple assessment for consultation, imagery and biopsy.
But, this would mean expanding the current unit at the hospital at a cost of £4.7 million – something which the local NHS does not have yet.
In fact, health bosses failed in a bid to government for capital funding last year to fund the plans.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson handed Boston Pilgrim Hospital £21.3 million for its A&E department, but this barely scratches the surface of what the county needs.
Both the main party leaders squabbled over the NHS this week on the live television debates.
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has promised to roll back the internal market in the health service, while the Prime Minister continues the Conservative line of needing a strong economy for a strong health service.
The country’s political leaders will continue to clash over the NHS, but, in reality, it needs to modernise and to do that they need to put their money where their mouths are.
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