A “secret” meeting is set to confirm a series of losses to services at Grantham Hospital, including orthopaedic emergencies and cardiology, including downgrading the accident and emergency department.
South Kesteven District Council councillor Charmaine Morgan made the announcement during a meeting of the authority’s Full Council.
She stood to announce: “I’ve been contacted today regarding a secret meeting that’s taking place over the future of Grantham Hospital held by the new Lincolnshire Community Health Services – the group now running Grantham Hospital.
“I’ve been advised that the meeting serves to brief staff in advance of a public announcement next week.
“The changes announced will change the nature of Grantham Hospital A&E which will no longer receive the most severely ill patients.”
The changes she listed included:
Grantham A&E downgraded to an urgent care centre.
Orthopaedic emergencies to go
Patient resuscitation and stabilisation to cease, with only frail, “elderly people helped”.
Cardiology in-patients also removed with anyone with chest pains now will be diverted to Lincoln
Councillor Morgan, who has been campaigning to protect health services and is chairman of SOS Grantham Hospital, told councillors she understood the proposals will go to public consultation later this year.
LCHS has also called media to a consultation announcement event next week (Tuesday).
However, she said: “It is clear these changes will see people needing critical emergency care in this area will die.
“The maximum time life can be sustained by an emergency crew is 20 minutes that’s 40 minutes less than the journey time we face to our nearest A&E.
“The voices of our MP, councillors and 60,000 people have been ignored.
“We will fight these changes and I call upon the council to support us and back the local communities because we are literally facing a fight for our lives.”
Following the meeting she told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines: “I am absolutely furious, gutted and I feel we need to really consider seriously direct action.
“We’ve gone through the petition route, we’ve lobbied people, we provided clear evidence that that A&E unit was a real one despite what ULHT said and was saving lives on a daily basis for every level of severity of illness.”
“They could have reopened it at night in December and they chose instead to rely on data which was incorrect saying it wasn’t a proper A&E; it was only an Urgent Care Centre so recommendation was made to sort it out as soon as possible.”
She raised concerns the move would signal a pre-determined plan to centralise A&E into the cities.
“It simply does not fit a rural area where people have so far to travel,” she said.
Fighting for Grantham Hospital lead campaigner Jody Clark said she was upset to hear Councillor Morgan’s announcement.
“We have lost enough already!
“They say its due to staff numbers and patient numbers (and safety outcomes) but Grantham is seeing significant residential developments and we could become the biggest town in Lincolnshire.
“We deserve better!
“Build us a new hospital, with full services that can meet the needs for the future generations.
“Time we gained rather than lost.”
Lincolnshire Community Health Services and ULHT have both been asked for comment.