Sleaford and North Hykeham MP, Dr Caroline took the campaign to reverse the current overnight closure of Grantham Hospital’s A&E department to the Prime Minister’s door today (Wednesday).
Dr Johnson joined fellow local MPs Nick Boles and Richard Jenrick, whose constituencies are within the catchment area of Grantham Hospital, to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the overnight closure of the A&E, which has been ongoing since August.
The meeting was initiated by Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles following the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust’s announcement in early February that they would not be fully re-opening the unit as many had hoped.
Mr Boles has been undergoing treatment for a cancerous tumour in his head since November, but has continued to stay involved with the campaign as much as possible and made the trip to Westminster to meet with the Prime Minister.
Mrs May appreciated the depth of public concern about the prolonged closure and confirmed that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, had agreed to involve the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to carry out a review as requested by Lincolnshire County Council. Dr Johnson also reiterated the problems with East Midlands Ambulance Service in being stretched to cover the extended distances on poor roads and explained why this undermined people’s faith in the safety of travelling long distances to A&E in Lincoln or Boston.
The news of the Health Secretary’s involvement follows the County Council’s decision to refer the overnight closures to his office earlier this year, and he has agreed to look into the issue by writing to the chairman of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel. The chairman, Lord Ribiero, and the rest of the panel will look at the issue initially to decide within 20 days whether a full review is necessary.
Commenting afterwards, Caroline said: “I am grateful that the Prime Minister took the time to meet with us on this important issue, and she understands the concern that so many in the local area have expressed.
“I visited Grantham A and E myself recently and received excellent service on a Sunday afternoon. However, the service needs to be reinstated to 24 hours as soon as possible. I hope that the Health Secretary’s involvement will prove useful, and I will continue to keep a close eye on progress.”
* Read more on Jeremy Hunt’s call for a review here.