United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has released a statement this morning (Wednesday) relating to the start tonight of temporary changes to the opening hours of the A&E Department at Grantham Hospital.
Starting today, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) will be temporarily changing the opening hours of the A&E department at Grantham and District Hospital to help maintain safe services across Lincolnshire.
From Wednesday 17 August, Grantham A&E will be open from 9am to 6.30 pm, seven days a week for three months.
We do not have enough doctors to safely staff all three of our A&Es 24 hours a day, seven days week.
Reducing the opening hours of Grantham A&E will help maintain safe services across Lincolnshire as we can move doctors from Grantham to Lincoln and Pilgrim A&Es – our busiest A&Es.
The A&E doors will close at 6:30pm and will be reopened at 9am. After 6.30pm, people visiting friends and family in hospital are being asked to use the entrance in the tower block. The service between 9am and 6.30pm will not change and will continue to see patients with minor injuries and illnesses.
Grantham A&E is already classed as a level three department, which means ambulances with seriously ill patients such as heart attacks, multiple trauma from road traffic accidents, suspected strokes or paediatric emergencies bypass Grantham hospital to get the right care first time.
Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at ULHT, said: “We know this has been an unpopular decision, and we share the frustrations of Grantham people.
“This hasn’t been an easy decision to make but it was made to protect patients and maintain safe services. “Having doctors at Lincoln and Pilgrim A&E will help all residents of Lincolnshire, including Grantham people.
“Currently, if a Grantham resident has a heart attack, a stroke, or needs emergency surgery they don’t go to Grantham A&E, they go to Lincoln or Pilgrim where their condition can be treated more effectively. People with suspected heart attacks go to Lincoln. Moving doctors to Lincoln and Pilgrim means that when someone in Grantham has a stroke for example and needs emergency treatment, Lincoln and Pilgrim A&Es will be safely staffed to deal with these very ill patients that come in by ambulance and they can be treated quickly.
“We have put plans in place with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), the out of hours service and our emergency assessment unit, to maximise the number of patients who can still be treated at Grantham hospital after 6.30pm despite the change. This means that some emergency patients may still brought by ambulance to Grantham.”
The decision to close the A&E department overnight has been made as a result of the reduction in the availability of doctors in Lincoln and Boston, together with an increase in the demand for emergency care services.
Despite our ongoing efforts to recruit to vacant posts, we do not have enough doctors to safely staff all three of our A&Es 24 hours a day, seven days week.
We will be working hard to recruit more doctors over the next few weeks and months, and continue to pay premium rates to attract doctors to the county. ULHT are committed to fully reopening A&E as soon as we have enough doctors. But we won’t compromise on safety to deliver convenient services.
During the hours of 6.30pm to 9am, if it’s not a 999 emergency, but someone needs medical help fast, they should call NHS 111.
NHS 111 will assess their symptoms and immediately direct them to the best medical care.
At all hours, not just between the hours of 9am and 6.30pm, we would always urge everyone to think twice before they go to A&E – if it’s not serious or life threatening, you shouldn’t be there.
We need to keep A&E for those who really need it. Many illnesses can be better treated by visiting your local pharmacy, calling NHS 111, visiting your local GP practice, GP out of hours services, or attending a walk in centre or a minor injuries unit.
More information about Grantham Hospital services is available at www.ulh.nhs.uk/news/lincolnshires-aes-at-crisis-point-frequently-asked-questions/