Health campaigners have called for the future plans for Lincolnshire’s services to be published a soon as possible “to end the uncertainty for staff and public alike across the county”.
It follows a statement made during a public South Kesteven District Council meeting, in which Labour councillor Charmaine Morgan revealed she had been told of changes to Grantham Hospital including:
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
Alison Marriott, from SOS Pilgrim, told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines that the situation at Grantham, which saw its A&E closed overnight in August 2016, was “completely unacceptable”.
She said: “The future plan for Lincolnshire’s health services must be published as soon as possible.
“Then everyone can see for sure what is proposed, and move on with fully-informed campaigns, should the proposals prove unfit for the population.
“This will also allow staff some stability to move on with their lives and future plans.”
She wished Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaigner Jody Clark luck with her petition calling on a new hospital to be built in the town.
However , she added: “It is vital to know what services are going to be provided at Grantham in future, to fully-inform the petition and any new-build plans.”
Fighting 4 Louth’s Julie Speed, who have previously raised concerns that Louth services could also be reduced, said the group were saddened by the announcement.
“The result will mean an ever growing number of people unable to access healthcare and alarming levels of added pressure on the ‘central’ hospital of Lincoln,” she said.
“Ambulance availability will also be greatly affected as they get tied up on longer journeys and deaths will inevitably result.”
Lincolnshire Community Health Service, which was named as part of Councillor Morgan’s speech on Friday, has denied it has taken over the management of the hospital at this stage.
Maz Fosh, deputy chief executive for Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS), added: “As these are not our services, I am not able to comment on the changes Councillor Morgan has mentioned.”
A joint media briefing by Lincolnshire NHS trusts is due to take place tomorrow (Tuesday, March 5).
In an email to press, the organisations said: “We’re beginning a new conversation with our patients, staff and the public about the future of the county’s health and care services, and would like to tell you more about it.”
When asked about Councillor Morgan’s comments, they added: “Healthy Conversation 2019 is the launch of the engagement phase – nothing has been decided about Lincolnshire’s NHS services.”
Grantham district and county councillor Ray Wootten has questioned the need for more consultation.
He refused to comment on the Councillor Morgan’s announcement until further details were confirmed, however said: “How much more consultation do the trust or CCG need? Since 2016 we have had numerous rallies, the Shaping our Kesteven review and others, Facebook campaigns… How much more information do they need from the people of Grantham?
“Surely, they have got a clear idea now of what the public require and need?”
The Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire, of which Councillor Wootten is a member, recently decided to write to Prime Minister Theresa May after the Department for Health failed to publish a report despite intervention by Minister for Health Stephen Barclay.