‘Death knell’ rung for Grantham A&E councillor claims

The “death knell” has been rung for Grantham A&E, an emotional council meeting has been told.

Grantham A&E to become an urgent treatment centre.
Grantham A&E to become an urgent treatment centre.

Coun Charmaine Morgan warned that lives would be lost when seriously ill patients were sent to Lincoln instead as part of plans to turn Grantham A&E department into a 24-hour urgent treatment centre.

She wanted South Kesteven District Council to unanimously stand against the recent decision by health bosses on the future of the department.

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In a passionate speech, Coun Morgan told the meeting: “700 more people will suffer each year when they are sent from Grantham to Lincoln. This is the death knell of our A&E.

“Time and distance can mean the difference between life and death.”

Her motion warned: “Any loss of care will result in the most sick, most vulnerable, the disabled and those without cars having to travel furthest for acute medical treatment.”

The changes would mean there would be 70 fewer acute care beds and no acute stroke care.

An argument broke out between parties when the Conservatives tabled their own amendment, with some councillors saying it was “disappointing” they could not have been united.

A compromise was eventually agreed, saying the council “deeply regrets the downgrade of emergency services and supports the return of 24/7 access. It strongly hopes this will be permanent and looks forward to the expansion as the town grows further.”

Council leader Kelham Cooke said: “These decisions are ultimately made by the CCG (Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group) and the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust – we aren’t the decision makers here. The important thing is we get those hospital doors open 24/7.”

Coun Ray Wootten said he feared that patients being sent to Lincoln would face long delays after he recently endured a 13 hour wait following a stroke.

“I worry that A&E waiting times there are too long and they simply can’t cope. The wait I had was disgraceful,” he said.

Coun Lee Steptoe walked out of the meeting in disgust early on, saying he had expected cross-party agreement but claimed Conservatives had “thrown in the towel”.

The change is part of a shake-up of Lincolnshire’s NHS services which the CCG says will offer better care and reduced waiting times for patients.

The Urgent Treatment Centre is expected to be fully operational in the next 12 to 18 months.