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There has been growing concern about Lincolnshire’s NHS since 2010 when its lack of adequate funding and the dangers of putting targets before safety were highlighted. Indeed the most senior clinician dealing with non urgent care put his concerns in writing.  Since then the position has deteriorated, with CQC interventions and public anger with our ambulance service.

A group of concerned individual decided to from a local arm of Cure the NHS the national campaign organisation established by Julie Bailey, in the wake of the shocking loss of life in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Hospitals Trust scandal.  The web site for the national organisation, ‘Cure the NHS’ can be found here.

The local leaders include Jan Hansen, local businessman who runs The Chocolate House in Folkingham and Phil Scarlett from Spalding, a former Non Executive Director of ULHT. David Bowles, a local health campaigner and a former Chair of ULHT and member of Patients First, which supports NHS whisleblowers, has supported the formation of this local group.

We support the objectives of the national body which are to improve patient safety and care within the NHS and, by sharing experiences, help others and improve patient safety.

The majority of Lincolnshire residents get excellent care from dedicated NHS staff however it is clear that local hospitals, ambulance service, GP and community services remain under pressure and are grossly underfunded.  This puts huge strains on our front line staff and makes it difficult for them to provide the quality of care they would like.  The result is too many stories of unsafe care or an uncaring environment.

In addition our hospitals and our staff have been badly led and let down.  There remains a management culture of cover-up, as evidenced by the gagging of Gary Walker the former Chief Executive of ULHT who was sacked after raising concerns about unsafe care due to overfull hospitals.  Revelations in the Health Select Committee on 19th March that other senior managers in ULHT had been gagged as well, further undermines confidence in some of the leaders of our local NHS organisations.

We want people to share their experiences with us, the good and bad, as it is only in that way that we can help campaign effectively to support NHS staff to provide the care we know they want to provide.

On some of the analyses carried out in 2009 on the government’s own figures show that Lincolnshire’s NHS as a whole was underfunded to the tune of £70 million, in comparison with other parts of the country.  Rather than close the gap in 2011 the government moved more NHS money to the south so preventing larger cuts in places like London. This has contributed to our problems along with the fact that we have a growing elderly population, high population growth, hospitals which are struggling and an ambulance service which is arguably failing.

Our local political leaders are either powerless or too disinterested to do anything about it.  A key part of our campaign locally will be to pressure them to stand up for Lincolnshire and put the health needs of our county at the top of their agenda.

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