Campaigners mark 1,000 days of Grantham A&E night closure with a cake

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Campaigners fighting to protect Accident and Emergency services at Grantham were not expecting a ‘Paul Hollywood handshake’ when they presented Lincolnshire health chiefs with a cake to mark 1,000 days since the department closed at night.

Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaigner Jody Clark gave the dessert to United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust’s Chief Executive Jan Sobieraj as she entered today’s (Tuesday’s) meeting of the trust board.

“We thought if we brought a cake, everybody gets a piece and can consider the fact Grantham residents have been travelling for more than 1,000 nights,” she said.

She also asked the board for reassurance the department and hospital in general remains a priority.

Martin Raynor, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, responded that Grantham “has a very positive future in what the trust’s trying to achieve”.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust closed Grantham Accident and Emergency department overnight in 2016, a move which it said was “temporary’.

Much of the closure has been put down to the trust’s staff recruitment and retention issues.

Campaigners have called for a solution to the overnight closure after increased demand at the department.

Health bosses recently launched the Healthy Conversations public engagement meetings, which examine changes to health services across the county across all sectors.

They include Grantham A&E becoming an Urgent Treatment Centre, which they say could be run by Lincolnshire Community Health Service, and would allow the facility to be open 24-hours, seven days a week.

They say it would treat the “vast majority” of local patients.

In an update on Tuesday, medical director Neil Hepburn confirmed the trust, which has since the closure merged its A&E teams into one, has just 15 substantive appointments to middle-grade doctors out of the 44 required.

Eight of its posts are based at Grantham hospital.

He urged people to respond to the Healthy Conversations public engagement events.

Fighting for Grantham Hospital campaigners have launched a petition calling for a new hospital for the town.