Campaigners call for solution to ongoing Grantham A&E saga

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Campaigners have called for a solution to the ongoing overnight closure of Grantham A&E after increased demand at the department.

The department saw ambulances queue outside the hospital past the 6.30pm closure time on Monday (January 28) evening.

Campaigners said staff were forced to finish late in order to process those patients who were waiting in A&E.

Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaigners said the extra demand on the hospital shows that the overnight closure has gone on “too long”.

But, United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said Grantham A&E was “no exception” to additional pressures during the winter and that other organisations face the same issue.

It comes as the trust closed the department overnight back in August 2016 in a move which it said was “temporary”.

The matter was referred to the Secretary of State for Health twice by the health scrutiny panel for Lincolnshire.

Now Jody Clark, Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaigner, said “enough is enough” and called on the trust to find a solution for the ongoing closure.

“The issues faced by our dedicated A&E staff at Grantham Hospital last night, clearly shows that this overnight closure has gone on for far too long,” she said.

“We need the solutions to reinstating our overnight service immediately and then implemented.

“Grantham residents already have to travel for emergency paediatrics, maternity services and now overnight emergency care for the last two and a half years.”

She added that local people are “entitled to the same access” to health services and said campaigners will continue to oppose the closure.

However, ULHT have maintained that the future of Grantham A&E lies with the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which is yet to be published.

Emma Coulson, urgent and emergency care general manager at the trust, said: “Like many NHS organisations across the country we see an increased number of people coming to our emergency departments during this time of year – Grantham hospital is no exception. 

“I would like to remind people that if they come to A&E and it is not an emergency they may have a long wait as we will always prioritise the sickest patients. 

“Our advice is please consider if you could be helped by visiting your local pharmacy or by contacting your GP.

“The current situation is that Grantham A&E remains closed overnight. Any changes to service provision will be subject to consultation as part of longer-term plans for urgent and emergency care across Lincolnshire as part of the STP.”