Political leaders keep up hospital pressure

Coun Matthew Lee (left) and Councillor Martin Hill sign the letter to United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group. EMN-180207-182507001
Coun Matthew Lee (left) and Councillor Martin Hill sign the letter to United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group. EMN-180207-182507001

Political pressure is continuing to be exert by council leaders as campaigners fight to save and restore services at Grantham Hospital.

A joint letter from the leaders of South Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council calls on health officials to publish their plans for the future of the hospital.

Coun Matthew Lee, the Leader of South Kesteven District Council, and Coun Martin Hill, the Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, say United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group should make their plans public so people can have their say.

In August 2016 the hospital’s A&E department (Sleaford’s closest A&E) was closed overnight, leaving the town and surrounding district without a full emergency department from 6.30pm to 8am. The closure was described as temporary, but is still in place.

Last month it was revealed that the hospital’s nurse-led Minor Injuries Unit, introduced when the A&E overnight closure came into effect, was under threat.

In their letter, Coun Lee and Coun Hill, who is local member for Folkingham Rural Division on the county council, say: “Residents fear that Lincoln, Boston or Peterborough are too far away and they will not receive emergency treatment in time, should they require it.

“There is widespread concern at the failure to re-open A&E overnight, and the potential loss of the MIU service that was introduced to replace it only adds to the sense that there is a policy in place to erode healthcare provision in this area.

“There is cross-party political support for a return of 24-hour provision to Grantham and frustration at the lack of engagement to discuss progress towards that ambition and the seeming indifference of both ULHT and the CCG.

“It is time for both to finally publish their long-term plans for Grantham Hospital so members of the public can have their say on the future of their health services.”

The letter was suggested by district and county councillor Ray Wootten, a long-standing hospital campaigner.

He said: “I am pleased that both South Kesteven and Lincolnshire councils have supported my proposal that will continue to put pressure on ULHT and the CCG to disclose their plans so that our residents can have their say.”