Grantham Journal letter: We care about the town’s hospital

Coun Ray Wootten, chairman of South Kesteven District Council EMN-150527-171114001
Coun Ray Wootten, chairman of South Kesteven District Council EMN-150527-171114001
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May I through your letters column respond to letters written by Councillor Charmaine Morgan and Mr Taylor from Cavendish Way.

As Chairman of SKDC I take great pride in representing the council and carrying out the role by being fair and non-political.

On ending my year as county chairman, heads of each political party congratulated me for being fair and treating all councillors with respect.

I was therefore surprised to read Councillor Morgan’s political attack on me.

Due to the short time available as both doctors had following appointments elsewhere I made the decision that to be fair each councillor would be allowed one question and no supplementary question otherwise we would have run out of time. This presentation was an update and not a scrutiny meeting.

Coun Morgan’s comment that the Conservative members were silent is not true as the opening question came from the Mayor Coun Jacky Smith followed by other questions from Conservative members. Cllr Morgan knows this.

Coun Morgan writes as Chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, yet in the nine years that I have been attending board meetings in Grantham I have never once seen her there. Likewise at the Trust AGM and the South West Clinical Commissioning Group AGM. If she had attended then she would have heard the board repeatedly say that Grantham has a bright future with a bespoke solution to healthcare and also be up to date with her knowledge.

A concern for us all is that the trust could be leading us up the garden path but we have to trust their word until the Lincolnshire Health and Care Plan is announced in February of next year.

The opening of the new Ambulatory Care Unit is good news. Dr Shirine Boardman Consultant Physician for whom I have the greatest respect has said that this is a significant development for healthcare in Grantham. Having seen this in operation in Peterborough Hospital I feel it is a step in the right direction for the future of our hospital.

Staff morale at Grantham Hospital is at rock bottom as they feel insecure and some have sought early retirement. There is also an accusation that the board is not being honest with them by failing to communicate future plans. This is totally unacceptable and I am disappointed to hear this after raising communication problems with staff at earlier board meetings. I shall follow this up once again at the earliest opportunity.

I have always been a supporter of the NHS and having moved from a town of similar size which did not have a hospital, I know how lucky we all are to have this facility and, maybe a better future for Grantham would be if the trust were to be dissolved and run as a stand alone venture or amalgamated with another trust.

I say to you whatever your political views are you should all make your voice heard by writing to our MP Nick Boles.

Mr Taylor, your county councillor Linda Wootten does care and regularly attends ULHT board meetings and holds them to account.

Coun Ray Wootten,

St Wulfram’s Ward,