Grantham Journal Column: We must not lose sight of acute services at Grantham Hospital

Charmaine Morgan
Charmaine Morgan
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On October 30, there was an all party health summit of the East Midlands Council with medical professionals, which took place at Westminster as part of a health review by East Midlands Council (EMC).

The objective was to identify how we would effectively manage health services across the region, which overall gets less money per head of population than it should. It was revealed the money provided on healthcare is not shared out according to need, but rather what the Government decides to give, leaving health authorities to manage
the shortfall.

Despite funding shortages, according to the Government’s formula, South West Lincolnshire Clinical Com-
missioning Group, which covers Grantham, is actually receiving more funding per head than it should. This could potentially lead to a reduction on funding locally in future.

We are running with a 40 per cent deficit in the number of GP training places spaces filled and recruitment across the region is poor. There is also an issue about how we retain newly-qualified medical staff. Despite being a great region to live in, we are poor at selling ourselves. We need to consider innovative ways of attracting trainee health workers here. It was felt local authorities could do more to assist with this issue.

However, we also need to consider how to tackle the issue of a general shortage of GPs. Because the conditions for locum GPs are less arduous than those for full time, many are changing how they work and moving towards part-time locum practice. This is increasing the number of GP vacancies and costs, as the cost of funding locum GPs is higher.

Given the reduction in acute services at Grantham Hospital, I raised a concern that we need to monitor the provision of our acute services and not lose sight of these as other longer term health matters were considered. In particular, I highlighted the lack of emergency and maternity facilities caused as services have been centralised on cities, leaving our rural and market towns without services. I also raised concerns over the poor conditions for home care workers, which must be addressed if we are to properly implement care in the community plans. We also need to explore the provision of convalescent homes. There was broad support with these proposals.

Local residents can submit comments as the EMC identifies where our priorities should be. Please forward comments to me at charmaine725@btinternet.com