United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has begun a 12 week consultation into the future of its nuclear medicine service - 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 Lincolnshire hospitals, the most common tests performed are bone scans and heart scans.
The service is currently provided at Lincoln County Hospital, Grantham and District Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. The service sees around 2,500 patients per year for the specialist tests.
Bosses say the service has long faced challenges around staffing, aging equipment and sustainability, and therefore it has been deemed unsustainable in its current format.
They have identified two options to reduce the number of hospital sites that the service could be delivered from in future, either all services centralised to Lincoln or split between Lincoln and Boston Pilgrim. Grantham would no longer provide the service in the options said to have been developed by hospital clinicians, and shaped by patient representatives.
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 began on Monday and will run until Monday May 23, 2022.
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, visit the consultation web page here.
Feedback can also be provided in the following ways:
* Fill in the survey
* Join in one of the virtual consultation events on Microsoft Teams on:
You can invite the consultation team to one of your organisation’s meetings to discuss the service, by emailing [email protected]