County and district councillor Ray Wootten has reacted with concern at the news of a temporary night-time closure of Grantham Hospital’s A&E department.
His comments come as the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust announced its intention yesterday (Thursday) at a news conference at the hospital.
He said: “United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Jan Sobierai’s proposal to close the A&E overnight at Grantham Hospital demonstrates to me how fragile the National Heath Service is, and how far down the priority list Grantham Hospital comes.
“Staff at Grantham Hospital already feel undervalued, demoralised and unloved. A closure which in his words is ‘a short-term measure’ would mean that on average 11 patients a night would be turned away and have to travel to Lincoln or Nottingham for emergency treatment.
“It is understandable that patient safety is the trust’s main concern but each year around 5,000 out of 30,000 patients who attend A&E in Grantham get admitted.
“A&E waiting times are already being breached at Lincoln Hospital. Quite recently I was admitted to Grantham Hospital in the early hours of the morning and I was transferred to Lincoln Hospital on a Friday night in one of only two ambulances covering this area and the lack of ambulances in this region in my opinion puts patient’s lives at risk.
“Grantham is a regional growth area and looking to build 14,000 extra homes, so the last thing we need is for the A&E at Grantham Hospital to be permanently downgraded.
“To Mr Sobierai, I say if your temporary solution turns into a permanent one, then all the talk of a bright and secure future at Grantham Hospital was of little value and just words.”