Campaigners gather to voice opposition to A&E cuts at Grantham Hospital

Health campaigners are now gathering in Grantham town centre to make their voices heard ahead of a consultation meeting about proposed future changes to services at Grantham Hospital.

The Fighting4Life campaign poster. EMN-211014-170116001

Today (Thursday October 14) at 6.30pm there will be a public consultation on the closure of Grantham A&E and the removal of Acute Medicine from the hospital as well as the centralisation of time critical services in Lincolnshire, such as stroke services moving from Boston to Lincoln.

Members of Fighting4Life Lincolnshire will be holding a static protest on St Peter’s Hill Green starting at 5pm aiming to make as much noise as possible to oppose the cuts and further erosion of healthcare services at a time when they say they should be growing to meeting the needs of the growing population

The group has been in existence for five years, battling to save A&E and other services at the hospital - the closest for many Sleaford area patients.

Co-founder of Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, Melissa Darcey said: “We have many actions in place at the moment, locally we have our own public consultation exercise which we are feeding into the exercise the health bosses are running.

“We are collating signatures to an open letter to Gareth Davies MP to tell him not to vote for the Health and Care bill which is currently passing its way through parliament and is making changes to our NHS lawful.

“We are constantly engaging with the public and getting feedback about many people being left without care, throughout the NHS, whether that be emergency care or cancer referrals, we also hear from staff how they may leave the profession due to the implementation of so-called ‘integrated care’ which has changed the way our frontline staff do their jobs - the system is being set up to stop us accessing care like we used to, our staff are no longer able to care for us like they used to.”

Melissa said the SOS Grantham Hospital campaign will be setting up an updated petition which Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire are in full support of. “We continue to build our network amongst the community of Grantham, Lincolnshire and the wider surrounding areas to stop our healthcare being turned into a profitable business based on cost and not patient outcome.”

She added: “We encourage everyone to look beyond party politics and question if their party is truly a friend of the NHS. The time has come to look beyond traditional party loyalties. “Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire believe the NHS should be returned to public hands as a comprehensive health service accessible to everyone with no emphasis on ability to pay.

“We continue to campaign for everyone to have access to high quality local healthcare services as part of a fully funded, publicly owned, publicly provided, managed and delivered National Health Service.

“We are honoured to work with national campaign groups like 999 Call for the NHS, Health Campaigns Together and other local campaign groups up and down the country who share our vision.”

NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a 12 week public consultation on plans covering Orthopaedic surgery, Urgent and Emergency Care in Grantham, Acute Medical beds and Stroke services in the county.

Bosses say changes will result in better access to urgent and emergency care, shorter waiting times, fewer cancellations of planned procedures and better retention of staff.

Grantham Hospital would also see acute and community beds integrated together. Health leaders say this would enable greater integration with community health and care services while reducing pressure on Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospital.

Grantham will be a “centre of excellence” for planned Orthopaedic surgery, with unplanned operations going to Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospital, to reduce cancellations. Stroke services would be centralised at Lincoln.

Dr Dave Baker, GP and Clinical Lead at the CCG, said no beds would be lost and that service at Grantham Hospital would be maintained as it is now – but with 24/7 access. The consultation ends on December 23.