The way ENT (ear, nose and throat) and urology services are provided by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG) is set to change.
At the July board meeting today the Trust decided to consolidate services to ensure it continues to offer safe and effective care.
From September, all inpatient ENT services will be provided from Grimsby hospital (adult and paediatric, elective and non-elective). A 24-hour, seven day a week emergency urology service will now be provided at Scunthorpe General Hospital.
Services are currently offered at both sites but interim chief executive Richard Sunley said difficulties in recruiting consultants meant offering services at both hospitals wasn’t currently sustainable.
Richard said: “Despite our continuous and focused efforts to recruit to vacant posts and to work with other acute trusts, both these services have experienced staffing shortages, particularly at consultant level. We are aware that both services are set to lose more capacity in September and our clinicians are telling us that we need to reconfigure these services to make sure they can continue to operate safely and effectively.”
Outpatient services will continue to be provided from all three hospital sites (Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole).
Richard added: “The board has today agreed to take action to ensure safe services are maintained. These are temporary moves, recommended by clinicians and based on safety grounds. We will be reviewing the moves in the coming months and will be seeking input from our patients, public and our key partners and stakeholders.”
Liane Langdon, chief officer at NHS North Lincolnshire CCG, said: “We fully understand the need for this action and we are working with North East Lincolnshire CCG and the Trust to assess and address the impact on the local population. We will ensure that the patients and the wider population are involved going forward as we make changes to the way we organise and deliver these and other services.”
If you have any comments about the service changes please contact the Trust’s PALS team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 03033 306518.
The Trust currently delivers 24/7 emergency care at both Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals with planned care delivered across all three sites (Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole hospitals).
To deliver care safely and effectively on a 24/7 basis the Trust needs six consultants. The service has seen a significant turnover in consultants and has been reliant on long-term locums who have now moved on. There are currently four consultants running the service, this will reduce to three in September. Each consultant works during the day and on call during evenings and weekends, which is becoming increasing difficult to sustain for both the staff involved and patients when the staff numbers reduce to three in September.
Safe and effective emergency care cannot be maintained across two hospital sites on a 24/7 basis with just three consultants.
The Trust currently delivers 24/7 emergency care at both Grimsby and Scunthorpe hospitals with planned care delivered across all three sites (Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole hospitals) and in some community settings.
To deliver care safely and effectively 24/7 the Trust needs five consultants. The service has suffered with high sickness and vacancy rates over the past 12 months and currently has two consultants in post. The service is operating safely with extra capacity provided by another Trust.
Due to the capacity issues the service is already alternating on-call cover between the two main hospital sites resulting in patients being transferred between sites out of hours.
What happens next?
Richard explained: “Now we have taken a decision on how to reconfigure these services we will work through the detail over the next few weeks and ensure affected patients are informed.”
Further updates and a list of frequently asked questions will be posted on the service reconfiguration page.