Consultation on the future of Lincolnshire hospitals nuclear medicine services extended

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has extended an ongoing public consultation on the future of its nuclear medicine service.

Lincoln County Hospital. EMN-200917-170611001
Lincoln County Hospital. EMN-200917-170611001

This means that the consultation will now run for 14 weeks until Monday June 6.

The hospital trust says it has been extended due to the ongoing local election purdah period, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to give their views as part of this process. This has also allowed the Trust to put on some additional face-to-face consultation events for those who would prefer this way of giving their feedback.

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Nuclear medicine is a specialist imaging technique involving the administration of radioactive substances (called radiopharmaceuticals) in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

There are over 20 different tests that nuclear medicine can perform and they look at conditions as diverse as Parkinson’s disease to delayed gastric emptying. In United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) hospitals, the most common tests performed are bone scans and heart scans.

The service is currently provided from three hospitals in Lincolnshire: Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. The service sees around 2,500 patients per year for very specialist tests.

The Trust says the service has long faced challenges around staffing, aging equipment and sustainability, and therefore it has been deemed unsustainable in its current format.

The consultation asks people to give their views on options to reduce the number of hospital sites that the service could be delivered from in future. These options are said to have been developed by hospital clinicians, and shaped by patient representatives.

The options are:

• Option 1: Centralisation of the service at Lincoln

• Option 2: Centralisation of the service at two sites - Lincoln and Pilgrim, Boston

Head of Nuclear Medicine for ULHT, Laura White, 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.”

The public consultation launched on Monday February 28 and will now run until Monday June 6.

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

To take part, please see the consultation web page.

Feedback can also be provided in the following ways:

· Fill in their survey

· Go along to one of their remaining virtual consultation events on Microsoft Teams, details below:

· Go along to one of their face-to-face events. Please click one of the links below in order to book your place on one of these events. Places must be booked in advance:

· Invite ULHT officers to one of your meetings to discuss the service, by emailing [email protected]