Grantham A&E campaigners may reconsider taking legal action against hospitals trust

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) talks to Cllr Charmaine Morgan, SKDC member and chairperson of SOS Grantham Hospitals, about the temporary A&E unit closure at Grantham EMN-160818-123807001

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) talks to Cllr Charmaine Morgan, SKDC member and chairperson of SOS Grantham Hospitals, about the temporary A&E unit closure at Grantham EMN-160818-123807001

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A group which has started legal proceedings against the trust which runs Grantham Hospital may reconsider going to court.

SOS Grantham Hospital is currently looking at a judicial review of the decision by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) to close Grantham A&E at night.

The campaign group took on law firm Leigh Day which has said that the closure of the A&E department between 6.30pm and 9am every night is “unlawful”. A judicial review will cost thousands of pounds.

But chairman of SOS Grantham Hospital Councillor Charmaine Morgan says it may reconsider the legal route and instead put its complaints to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Coun Morgan said: “I am seeking a second opinion. I am concerned that it’s a significant amount of money for negligible gain (to take legal action) if we can take it down the Ombudsman route.”

There will be a meeting of SOS Grantham Hospital at the Railway Club in Grantham on Tuesday at 7.30pm. Anybody interested in the issue is invited to attend.

Coun Morgan also wants to collect a list of experiences people have had since the closure of the A&E to include in a document she is sending to the Ombudsman. If you want to tell Coun Morgan about your experience with Grantham A&E since its closure overnight email her at charmainemorgan50@gmail.com or call her on 07398 156296.

In a summary report given to the health scrutiny committee at Lincolnshire County Council on Wednesday, the campaign group said: “Given the potentially life threatening impact of the loss of Grantham A&E unit at night to thousands of people, the decision by ULHT to close the unit does not meet the NHS principals and excludes residents within the Grantham area from receipt of potentially vital emergency healthcare provision.

“ULHT did not accept comment from other medical professionals and dismissed all concerns.

“Rather than improve patient safety, the residents of the Grantham area have been placed at more risk and the strain placed on hospital and EMAS staff as a result may jeopardise further services.

“SOS Grantham Hospital calls for LCC health scrutiny committee to support the call for the restoration of A&E services at Grantham Hospital and to act toward this end by whatever means are possible. Until the matter is resolved, an urgent review of the facilities for critically ill patients arriving at the hospital when it is closed is required and alternative secure arrangements are needed.”

Coun Morgan told the Journal that the document was not circulated to the scrutiny committee. As an observer at the meeting, she was given three minutes to make a presentation outlining the campaign group’s main concerns.