‘Hospital cuts are not a hatchet job’

Gravity FM presenter Ian Selby and Chief Executive of United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust Jan Sobieraj.
Gravity FM presenter Ian Selby and Chief Executive of United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust Jan Sobieraj.
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The chief executive of the trust which runs Grantham Hospital says the closure of its A&E department at night is not part of a ‘hatchet job’ in which services are being taken away from the town.

Jan Sobieraj said the closure of A&E between the hours of 6.30pm and 9am since August 17 was necessary to bolster staffing levels at the other A&Es in Lincoln and Boston. He said a vote of no confidence by the Medical Advisory Committee in medical director Dr Suneil Kapadia, of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), was not supported by staff at the other sites.

Speaking to the Journal and Gravity FM this week Mr Sobieraj said: “They have strong views and the chairman (of ULHT) will respond. He will involve a third party, a very senior clinician to investigate their concerns.

“I am very disappointed by their approach. They did not come to me and talk about it. I am disappointed we have not had the opportunity for dialogue.

“I think that says a lot about where they are at as a group of clinicians. We have three medical advisory committees at the trust and the other two do not support their line.

“We need to deal with it. It’s not helpful to have consultants who feel disenfranchised.”

Mr Sobieraj said Dr Kapadia was not a ‘hatchet man’ brought in to cut services at Grantham. He said Dr Kapadia had brought down the mortality rates which were too high in 2013 when the trust went into special measures.

He added: “He (Dr Kapadia) has not got a particular vendetta or approach around a certain service or site.”

Asked for an apology for the cutbacks at the hospital and closure of A&E at night, Mr Sobieraj said: “We have always said around the temporary, partial closure, we know it’s unwelcome. We understand the concerns, but we felt we had little choice around doing that in terms of our crisis measure.”

The interview with Mr Sobieraj will be aired on Gravity FM on Sunday at 5pm, and again on Wednesday, at 10am.