Campaigners fear for future of Grantham A&E

Campaigners for the return of a 24-hour Grantham A&E have said that the future does not look good for the service.

The A&E department was controversially closed at night by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust back in August 2016 in a ‘temporary’ closure due to lack of staff.

However, the department has remained closed since and could be downgraded to an urgent care centre despite staff levels increasing.

The opening hours for the Grantham A&E remain at 8am to 6.30pm.

A safety review conducted by the East of England Clinical Senate and commissioned by NHS Improvement recommended the department should not reopen overnight at this time.

Trevor Green from Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire said that the trust had not considered the growth in Grantham as part of its closure plans.

“They always use the word temporary, but what is temporary?” he said.

“The future of Grantham A&E is not looking good for a reopening of our 24-hour services.

“I don’t think they are even taking into consideration the growth of the area, we’ve got new housing complexes coming up both south and north in the town.

“They are just not taking that information on board.”

Mr Green added that a return to an overnight service would be ideal but changes to other services could also destabilise the hospital.

Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire had previously sought legal advice on the trust’s decision.

At a ULHT board meeting held in Sleaford today (Friday), Mark Brassington, chief operating officer at ULHT, said no decision had been made on the future of Grantham A&E and that patient safety came first.

The Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership is expected to give an update on its acute services review, which includes Grantham, to the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire on May 16.

It comes after health scrutiny members have repeatedly asked health officials for an update on the review into hospital services in Lincolnshire.

Concerns were also raised about a review of orthopaedic trauma services at Grantham Hospital.

Mr Brassington said at the meeting: “There is some work under way looking at how orthopaedics will be delivered across all sites and that work is ongoing, to come to the next Trust board meeting.

“Any substantive, permanent change would have to go through consultation.”

He said no decision had been made yet but that the possibility of moving orthopaedic trauma to Lincoln had been something that had been suggested early on, saying: “It is not our intention to destabilise the A&E at Grantham and we are working out what they can do to improve services for orthopaedic patients.

“It is my understanding from the clinical group that it is now their intention to keep orthopaedics at Grantham Hospital.”