March 1, 2022 2.45 pm

Lincolnshire hospitals seek to consolidate nuclear imaging in Lincoln

Boston could keep its service too

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust are planning to close nuclear imaging used for bone and heart scans in Grantham, and possibly Boston too, with one centre remaining in Lincoln.

Nuclear medicine services are used by 2,500 patients per year in Lincolnshire for up to 20 types of specialist tests, from Parkinson’s disease to delayed gastric emptying.

The service is currently provided from three hospitals in Lincolnshire – Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital.

However, the service has long faced challenges around staffing, ageing equipment and sustainability. so it has been deemed unsustainable in its current format.

In order for it to continue, the trust is looking reducing the number of sites from three to one in Lincoln, or possible two, including Boston.

The following two options have been developed by hospital clinicians, and shaped by patient representatives:

  • Option 1 – centralisation of the service at Lincoln County Hospital
  • Option 2 – centralisation of the service at two sites – Lincoln County Hospital and Boston Pilgrim

Laura White, Head of Nuclear Medicine for ULHT, said: “Our nuclear medicine service is a very specialist offering that requires highly skilled technicians and scientists to carry out testing for patients.

“At the moment our resources are spread very thinly across the county, which makes the service both inefficient and also introduces a high risk of appointment cancellations for patients.

“Whilst we know that centralising our service at one or two hospital sites rather than three may mean that some patients have to travel further for their tests, we believe this is the best option to ensure a sustainable and efficient service for the future.

“We also believe that better use of our resources will mean that we can invest in and explore more nuclear medicine treatments in Lincolnshire in future, which should mean more patients can be treated in Lincolnshire rather than having to travel outside of the county for some tests.”

A 12-week public consultation on the plans will run until Monday, May 23, 2022.

Staff, patients and the public of Lincolnshire are invited to give their views here as part of the consultation, ahead of a decision being made about the future of the service later this year.

Feedback can also be provided by filling in this survey or attend one of the virtual consultation events on Microsoft Teams on the below dates:

  • Tuesday, March 8 – 6.30pm-7.30pm
  • Monday, March 28 – 3pm-4pm
  • Wednesday, April 13 – 6.30pm-7.30pm
  • Tuesday, May 3 – 3pm-4pm