SOS Grantham Hospital - the campaign group which gained 7,696 signatures against plans to close the town’s maternity unit - was today told their efforts were for nothing.
South West Lincolnshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group in their final Shaping Health for Mid Kesteven Report said that while they recognise the “strength of feeling”, they could not take into account the petition as it was not handed out alongside the consultation documents.
John Morgan of SOS Grantham Hospital said: “The people of Grantham spoke but they have not been listened to.”
South West Lincolnshire CCG’s chief officer Allan Kitt the group had approached SOS about working alongside the group but were rebuffed.
He added: “It was a disappointment we were not able to encourage that group to give out our forms so we can bring it straight in but I think we live and learn on that.”
Despite ignoring the 7,696 signatories, Mr Kitt insisted the consultation was still of value.
The commissioning group’s own consultation found that 60 per cent of the 718 people who took part agreed or strongly agreed with the decision to close Grantham’s midwifery unit and re-locate it to another hospital such as Lincoln, Peterborough or Nottingham
He said: “It was both a valid and a representative consultation process.”
However, SOS Grantham Hospital hit back after the announcement, saying they could not work alongside South West Lincolnshire CCG as its consultation questions were “loaded”.
John Morgan said: “Their question were loaded and then they turn round and say out petition was not compatible.
“The 700 people got very loaded questions and only half of the responses were from people from the Grantham area.
“If we thought their consultation was any good we would have given them out and got people to fill them out instead.”
Despite the efforts of SOS Grantham Hospital, Mr Morgan said he was not surprised by today’s decision to close the unit.
He said: “It’s sad but we are not surprised about the maternity unit. It has been death by a thousand cuts and it looks like this has been the final cut.”