Health bosses have pointed to Sleaford Medical Group as an alternative facility after concluding that a minor injuries unit set up in Grantham on a trial basis following the closure of the town hospital’s A&E overnight “does not appear to have been successful”.
South West Lincolnshire CCG have placed the service under review after they say that on average only five patients a month have used it since it was put in place in September 2016.
Commissioners implemented the minor injuries nurse following the decision to close Grantham Hospital A&E overnight.
The service was put in place for patients to use between 6.30pm and 11.30pm and is operated by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust as part of the out of hours service based at the Kingfisher Unit at the hospital.
The A&E at Grantham remains closed overnight.
Now, health bosses are reviewing the service and have launched a public survey on the CCG’s website which will run until June 28.
John Turner, chief executive of South West Lincolnshire CCG, said that commissioners have a duty to spend public money effectively.
He said: “Over the last year the minor injuries service has on average seen five patients a month, some of whom could have been treated via the out of hours GP, at a total cost of £130,000.
“As local commissioners, we have a responsibility to spend public money effectively and, having reviewed the minor injuries service and the patients it has seen, the trial does not appear to have been successful.
“There are a range of alternative services and sources of information available for patients, including a minor injuries service at Sleaford Medical Group (available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm) and the urgent care unit at Sleaford Medical Group (available Monday to Friday 6.30pm to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am to 6pm).
“In addition, NHS 111 offers advice in non-emergency situations and can be used to access the out of hours GP service.”
The CCG added that the service was not meant as a replacement for the cut in hours at Grantham A&E.
Lincolnshire County Council leader, Martin Hill, expressed frustration at the news after being notified of the review by the CCG.
He said: “I’m very disappointed to hear that this service, which was put in place as a temporary measure until the overnight A&E could be re-instated at Grantham, is now under threat.
“Other hospitals such as Louth, have maintained late night cover and there is currently no mention of where injured and ill people would be expected to travel to as an alternative to Grantham.
“We need permanent solutions to the problems the NHS in Lincolnshire is facing and I want to see Grantham Hospital at the centre of overall health service provision for the county, as it rightly should be, serving our largest town and beyond.
“Grantham Hospital is not facing the same problems with recruitment as some other NHS services are seeing – it is being sacrificed to make up for the failures within the other acute services in Lincolnshire.”
Calvin Robinson , Local Democracy Reporting Service