I have never heard of anything so daft as the idea of a single A&E department for the whole of Lincolnshire.
As I write this, the wind is howling and the rain lashing down. We have been advised not to travel if at all possible. Probably, before this winter is finished, we will be struggling with snow and ice.
I would like to meet Tony Hill, executive director of public health, and ask him to explain to me how he thinks a single A&E, somewhere in Lincolnshire, is going to reduce high mortality rates and improve poor quality of service in the county’s hospitals. I have personal experience of Grantham A&E and Newark outpatients’ department and in both cases, the care and treatment I received was superb and the staff friendly and helpful.
I am at a loss to understand how removing A&E from any hospital is going to ‘significantly reduce the people who are dying unnecessarily from the poor quality of care they receive’. Common sense surely tells you that not being able to access an A&E department in a timely manner is likely to increase the number of people who may die.
An accident can often be an emergency and prompt treatment is vital. Ambulance services are already stretched and reported waiting times often unacceptable. If the service has to transport A&E patients miles through the rural roads of Lincolnshire, even in good weather, the time we will have to wait for an ambulance is going to increase further. Private transport may be an option, but this is not available to all and, anyway, driving miles with someone who is suffering a serious health problem, which could mean life or death, is not something I would wish to do.
Grantham, we are told, is a Growth Point. More and more houses are being built, therefore, more and more people will be living here. With an expanding town, the railway and the A1 on our doorstep, Grantham Hospital and its superb A&E department are essential to the well being of the town and its surrounds.
If, as Dr Hill suggests, 90 per cent of cases that report to A&E could have been dealt with by GPs, then his focus should be on reforming the way GP services are provided and ensure local A&E services are properly supported and able to respond quickly to life-threatening accidents and emergencies.
That, I am sure, is what most people want.
West End, Harlaxton