Nick Boles: Hospital decision was vote of confidence

3/5/2013 (EJ)''Planning Minister Nick Boles MP visited the fields next to Knowle Village where Welborne is to be built on Friday.''Pictured is: Planning minister Nick Boles MP in one of the fields where Welborne is going to be built.''Picture: Sarah Standing (131218-2554)

3/5/2013 (EJ)''Planning Minister Nick Boles MP visited the fields next to Knowle Village where Welborne is to be built on Friday.''Pictured is: Planning minister Nick Boles MP in one of the fields where Welborne is going to be built.''Picture: Sarah Standing (131218-2554)

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Last week the people of Stamford got the news we had all been hoping for: that the planned investment in the future of Stamford Hospital should go ahead.

When the NHS regulator Monitor started its investigation into the Peterborough and Stamford Hospital Trust’s black hole, I was worried that the plans for our hospital’s future would get lost as the trust’s board focused on dealing with the financial emergency emanating from the last government’s disastrous PFI scheme.

That’s why I wrote to NHS boss David Nicholson seeking a guarantee that the plans for Stamford Hospital would be implemented in full – and demanding that the hospital be transferred to another trust if the Peterborough trust could not deliver.

I am delighted that the efforts of the Friends of Stamford Hospital, of the local GPs who now control commissioning of health services on our behalf, of Sue Brookes and the dedicated staff at the hospital, of our mayor Brian Sumner, and of Stamford councillors at every level, have been rewarded with this vote of confidence.

We have never argued that nothing at Stamford Hospital should ever change, simply that it has a crucial role to play in providing treatment and care to an ageing population and that its activity level should increase.

This is what is now planned with the introduction of new cancer treatment facilities, dedicated high-spec procedure rooms, the repatriation of endoscopy services to Stamford, and the redevelopment of the site specifically for additional clinical services.

We must all remain vigilant.

This commitment by the NHS regulator is hugely welcome – but still just on paper. I will only rest when the Stamford Hospital site has been reconfigured and the new services and clinics are up and running to the benefit of everyone living in south Lincolnshire.