Women’s and Children’s Services

Women’s and Children’s Services

This is a wide range of services across acute and community settings including obstetrics (maternity care), neonatal (care of premature or sick babies), paediatric (care of children) and gynaecology (care for women and girls, especially related to the reproductive system).

Currently all these hospital services are delivered in both Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospitals. We have a neonatology intensive care unit at Lincoln Hospital and a special care baby unit at Pilgrim Hospital. Babies born pre 29-weeks and children under five who require surgery are all treated out of county. Women in Lincolnshire have a choice of giving birth at home or in a consultant-led obstetrics unit at these two hospitals.  Midwife services are available in the community and at home. 

Why we need to change?

As has been widely discussed in the public domain, we have significant hospital staffing issues, particularly at Pilgrim Hospital where we have a long-term issue recruiting middle grade doctors; we currently have one out of six in permanent employment and sometimes no temporary staff can be recruited.

A shortage of consultants also means a reduced ability to support junior doctors, because we are not able to provide the support and training that they need.

This has resulted in heavy reliance on agency staff, leaving the service fragile and subject to temporary changes. Agency staff need only give two hours’ notice to not being available.

Since August 2018 because of these issues, we have introduced temporary changes for safety reasons which are;

  • Closure of the paediatric in-patient beds and the opening of a paediatric assessment ward at Pilgrim Hospital with any child requiring a non-elective admission needing to stay over 23 hours or have planned elective care being treated at Lincoln Hospital. 
  • Any babies born pre 34-weeks at Pilgrim Hospital being transferred to our Lincoln Hospital site, where we have more staff equipped to handle their needs. 

What are the ‘emerging options’?

There are two emerging options.
The first emerging option is to have the following services at the two hospital sites;

At Pilgrim Hospital

  • to continue with a consultant led obstetric service with the addition of a co-located midwife-led unit
  • The Boston special care baby unit currently cares for babies born from 34 weeks, this is the interim position. Prior to August 2018, it cared for babies from 30 weeks. In the preferred emerging option, Boston special baby care unit will care for babies from 32 weeks. 
  • to have a short stay paediatric assessment ward for children needing up to 23 hours of care
  • to have low acuity paediatric in-patient beds overnight
  • to have paediatric day case surgery.

At Lincoln Hospital

  • to continue with a consultant led obstetric service with the addition of a co-located midwife-led unit
  • to continue with a neonatal unit caring for babies born from 27 weeks
  • to have a short stay paediatric assessment ward
  • to have paediatric in-patient beds
  • to have paediatric day case and planned surgery.
  • We would wish to keep the gynaecology services the same as
    now on both Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospital sites with our clinicians
    working as one team across these two sites.

This is currently the NHS’s preferred emerging option.

The second emerging option is to have consultant obstetric, neonatal and paediatric services at Lincoln Hospital and a midwife-led unit and short stay paediatric assessment ward at Pilgrim Hospital.

Both hospitals will have co-located midwifery-led units.

The benefits of the NHS’s preferred emerging option could include:

  • Fewer children, pregnant women and their families would need to travel for care

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