In The Journal Letters page on May 4 Linda Jones raised concerns at the ineffectiveness of Shaping Health representatives in opposing changes or cuts to our local hospital services.
She is right to raise such concerns. It is vital that there is independent scrutiny over what is happening to our local health service. It is here. SOS Grantham Hospital remains totally independent and ready to proactively campaign for our hospital services.
There are many challenges, however. Obtaining accurate and timely information is just one challenge. Excellent A&E nurse Paul Lewis is one of the brave few at Grantham Hospital willing to publicly raise concerns.
SOS Grantham Hospital has the goals of restoring a fully operational A&E unit, Maternity services led by Consultants and improved local paediatric services.
We successully fought to retain a Midwifery unit and retain an A&E unit at Grantham working with local residents and businesses. Our A&E services have been watered down, no matter what Trust members say. We have seen the gradual decline of our hospital A&E, paediatric and midwifery services over the past decade.
Other services, such as Mental Health care are threatened and Government changes under the NHS Bill have yet to be fully implemented. For example, the failure of ULHT to renew East Midlands Ambulance contract for all but Emergency transportation is a result of Government policy. We need to understand how decisions made in Government will affect our local hospital services and patient care in future as well. We took a petition to Downing Street before, and may have to do this again.
Grantham’s population is growing. Services at neighbouring hospitals, such as Newark and Melton Mowbray have declined. It has become all the more important to be vigilant and willing to act, to oppose any further degradation of our service - however well disguised. If, as stated, improved services are to come. they will be welcome, but should not be at the cost of other vital services.
At a recent public consultation excersise, I and other campaigners stated that local provision of emergency and maternity care is crucial. We also expect the retention of patient dignity and cleanliness to be the norm, not exceptions. Let’s see if the Trust members listened.
A further issue is the degradation of our lovely historic landmark hospital building itself. Paid for by the residents of Grantham, and, symbolic of how much healthcare means to our community, it now stands boarded up and neglected. We plan to work with Conserving Grantham on this.
Anyone wanting to join SOS Grantham Hospital, at our next meeting on Thursday, May 22 at 7pm, or share information in confidence, is welcome to contact me on 01476 574748 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cllr Charmaine Morgan
Chair SOS Grantham Hospital
St Anne’s Ward