A motion which calls for a re-think on the proposed closure of Grantham A&E and controversial plans for healthcare in the county has been unanimously supported by councillors.
Mark Whittington, who represents Barrowby on Lincolnshire County Council, put forward the motion in response to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
The motion supported positive proposals for the future of healthcare in the county such as neighbourhood teams, but it also said: “We believe the proposal for the downgrading of A&E service provision at Grantham Hospital is completely unacceptable and will have a serious and detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of the residents within the Grantham Hospital catchment area.”
Following the meeting, Coun Whittington told the Journal he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the response to the motion. He said: “That was the best thing about it. All councillors across all parties supported it. I was very much aware of the concerns of people in Grantham and Boston, but councillors from other parts of the county were able to say just how bad things are where they are. It became a debate on the NHS throughout Lincolnshire and the county council is just not happy about it.”
Coun Whittington’s motion also said a proposal to centralise maternity provision in Lincoln and end provision at Boston Pilgrim Hospital is ‘completely unacceptable’. The motion also called on all NHS organisations in the county to conduct a full public consultation on the STP proposals.
Conservative Grantham councillor Ray Wootten helped to formulate the motion and it was seconded by Grantham Labour councillor, Charmaine Morgan, of campaign group SOS Grantham Hospital.
Coun Morgan said: “There are no quick fixes to the issues within our NHS but in post-war Britain Nye Bevan (the Labour Prime Minister who founded the NHS) stated ‘... the NHS will continue as long as there are people willing to fight for it.’ Well, we’ve proven there are people willing to fight and as I like to say where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Following the meeting, a statement from Lincolnshire Health and Care (LHAC) said: “We welcome the fact that Councillors have taken the time today to discuss Lincolnshire’s new five year health and care plan called the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). We believe we have a strong and credible plan to transform health care – both improving health and wellbeing and ensuring we can provide high quality services. We are committed to making sure that every pound we spend delivers real value for all the people of Lincolnshire.
“The County Council will have a key role to play in leading on some elements of the plan, for instance how we improve health and wellbeing and how we integrate health and social care provision to provide a better experience for our residents. We are at the start of this five year plan and we look forward to continued input and dialogue with Council Members and the public which will be critical if we are to take forward this plan successfully.
“We would like to reiterate that no final decisions have yet been made on the proposals for hospital change and we are fully committed to an open and transparent public consultation next year. No options will be put forward for hospital changes unless they are safe.
“Our plan must deliver good quality care but we have a limited amount of resources and there are some difficult choices that need to be made. Some of the reasons why services sometimes don’t deliver now is because we have avoided making these difficult choices in the past. Now is the time to confront the challenges and work together with partners including elected members to deliver improved healthcare for all our residents.”