‘Stop undermining A&E and open it 24/7’ says Grantham Hospital support group

Charmaine Morgan, chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, outside the A&E unit at the hospital

Charmaine Morgan, chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, outside the A&E unit at the hospital

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A hospital support group has responded to the CQC report on the trust which runs Grantham hospital by calling for the restoration of full A&E services 24 hours a day.

Charmaine Morgan, chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, said the CQC report, which http://www.granthamjournal.co.uk/news/health/grantham-a-e-rated-as-good-but-lincolnshire-hospitals-trust-goes-back-into-special-measures-1-7909598|called for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust to be put into special measures}, was a vindication for Grantham’s A&E unit which should be be fully restored after it was closed overnight.

Coun Morgan said: “This is welcome news to local people and particular praise must go to the hospital staff. They have been working under huge pressure faced with an uncertain future, as ULHT imposed a night closure on Grantham A&E unit in August 2016 and the Lincolnshire STP is still being considered. In many ways this vindicates the concerns of those working at the hospital and the patients using the hospital who have been fighting to keep acute A&E resuscitation and life saving services on site.

“Given that ULHT and the CCG have been telling us all that Grantham Hospital A&E is not on a par with the services provided at Lincoln, the independent findings by the CQC raise a serious question over the judgement or motivation of the Medical Officer on the ULHT board.

“​Trust members have even gone as far as saying Grantham A&E unit is not safe and that ambulances should by pass the site. Even though last year 4,400 A&E ambulances did take patients to Grantham A&E and the unit is equipped to handle life saving patient resuscitation and stabilisation.​

​“SOS Grantham Hospital argue that if Grantham A&E is ‘good’ it should remain open ​24/7 ​and continue to be supported​. T​he aim of ULHT should be to bring its other units up to that same standard. ​ULHT​ should be praising the staff who work there to provide this service in difficult circumstances and ​ULHT should ​promot​e​ th​is highly valued local A&E​ unit to encourage its use and ensure its future viability.

​“It is ​not acceptable that such a unit should be ​consistently ​undermined by ​a ​hospital trust ​board ​entrusted with its care​.​ ​T​he patients who rely on Grantham Hospital A&E should be supported 24/7 so their needs are met as per the NHS Guideli​n​es, which seem to have been forgotten by too many keen to bring centralisation to our A&E services -​ both locally and nationally​.

“However, it feels like a missed opportunity that the CQC ​would ​not ​consider the impact of the ​A&E ​night closure ​in its report​. When we approached their representative they refused to consider any organisational​ changes ​in place and ​focus​sed​ only on the ​operational ​aspects of the unit still open.​ SOS Grantham Hospital had flagged concerns regarding the safety of the external wall mounted telephone which were referred by the CQC to ULHT for investigation. It is ironic therefore that it is possible for a Hospital Trust to leave someone with no local A&E care at all for 14.5 hours a day and get a ‘good’ rating because the services are ‘good’ when they are available. You just need to stay alive long enough to be able to appreciate them.

Given the reliance we now have on other ULHT hospitals at night it is hugely concerning for everyone in the county that the CQC have found ULHT to ‘be in need of Special Measures’. The reasons for this need detailed scrutiny but it makes no sense to put more pressure on struggling hospitals unnecessarily when ‘good’ local services are available in Grantham.

“It is worse when you consider the hour long journey patients may have to take to get to those inadequate services. It is also to be noted that the night closure of Grantham A&E has not alleviated issues elsewhere sufficiently at Lincoln or Boston. The negative impact on Grantham of the night closure was masked by the scope of the CQC inspection. It begs the question ‘Who does consider the impact of such change on patients and staff when a unit closes if not the CQC?’”