Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee has been consulted on the proposals for changes orthopaedic surgery, urgent and emergency care and stroke services and have now responded with concerns.
“We strongly agree with the need for significant and permanent improvement to the four NHS services so this review is very much supported,” said Councillor Carl Macey, chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire. “It should ensure the highest possible standards of patient care are provided giving the best possible outcomes for patients.
“But we have serious concerns around three of the four proposals.
“We can’t support the proposal to establish a 24/7 walk in Urgent Treatment Centre at Grantham and District Hospital, in place of the current Accident and Emergency department. There has been a strong, passionate campaign from local residents in Grantham to restore the overnight A&E service which we have supported with two referrals to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Residents feel their views have been overlooked and when services have been gradually removed over the past 20 years, the committee isn’t reassured that further changes to services provided at the hospital will be avoided.
“There are also unanswered questions about patients who cannot be treated at Grantham getting to and from another A&E department and there needs to be a clearer indication of what services are provided at the urgent treatment centre.
“Similarly the committee has concerns about proposals for using Grantham as a ‘centre of excellence’ for planned orthopaedic surgery. We’re not convinced about the overall accessibility of the hospital, particularly for people in the east of the county where public transport can be limited. It’s not clear how many patients would choose to have surgery at a hospital outside Lincolnshire and we’re not convinced that this proposal would necessarily improve recruitment and retention of staff.
“The committee does agree with establishing integrated medical and community beds at Grantham Hospital as it will aid recruitment and retention of consultants and doctors and support more integrated health and social care services which has got to be good for patients.
“However, we’re not convinced by the final proposal to establish a ‘centre of excellence’ for stroke services at Lincoln County Hospital, removing a service from the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. Many patients each year are currently treated at Boston and this could have a significant impact on people in the east of the county who rely on these services and who might otherwise travel out of the county to a nearer hospital. It also does nothing for the perception in Boston that Pilgrim services are being downgraded.
“As we said at the beginning of this consultation we want to see improved services rather than any reduction in support across the county for our residents. We understand the intention is for NHS Lincolnshire to make a decision on the four proposals by March 31, 2022 and the committee will continue to press our views in further dialogue before then.”