County’s health scrutiny chief ‘disappointed’ by figures showing impact on other hospitals by Grantham A&E overnight closure

editorial image

Lincolnshire’s health scrutiny chief said he was “disappointed” with figures showing a spike in patients attending Peterborough City Hospital since the overnight closure of Grantham A&E.

Councillor Carl Macey, who chairs the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire, said the committee will take a “deep dive” into the numbers.

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City Hospital, said in its annual report that more people from Lincolnshire are visiting its A&E department on an evening following Grantham’s overnight closure in August 2016.

A total of 2,598 patients from the Grantham area have attended Peterborough City Hospital A&E since the decision was made with 475 people arriving by ambulance last year.

Coun Macey said the committee will ask United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust to come back before the panel to “get to the bottom” of the numbers.

“It was disappointing to see the figures,” he said.

“We have continuously gone over those figures with the STP and clinical commissioning groups to find out how they are progressing.

“We are always told it has not had a major impact on our neighbouring trusts and in an official paper from the North West Anglian trust we are seeing there has been an impact, not only on them but on Lincoln hospital, Boston and Nottingham.

“There is quite clearly an issue that we want to do a deeper dive into and try to get to the bottom of it and find out what the actual picture is prior to the closure, to what it is now and what it is likely to have been still at this point.”

According to figures from ULHT, since the overnight closure of the town’s emergency department a total of 10,681 patients from the Grantham area have visited Boston and Lincoln A&E departments.

The figures, which include when Grantham A&E was open during the day, show an average of two people per day from Grantham visiting the two other sites.

Simon Evans, director of operations at ULHT, said there have always been times when some patients from the area would require treatment at other A&Es due to their condition, such as heart attacks.

“Since the overnight closure of Grantham A&E, we have seen a small increase in the number of patients from Grantham being seen at our A&Es in Lincoln and Pilgrim – an average of just over two people each day,” he said.

“However, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition or symptoms there have always been times when those from the Grantham area would have needed to travel to other hospitals for certain specialist treatment, such as heart attack patients travelling to the Lincolnshire Heart Centre.

“Over the last few years there has been a rise in A&E attendances, both locally and nationally. From the figures, we can see that North West Anglia are seeing an average of three extra patients from the Grantham area each week.

“As an organisation we do not specifically review these changes with North West Anglia or other NHS trusts, however, we do work very closely with our commissioners who liaise with all trusts in the region.”