The announcement by the trust that runs Grantham Hospital to keep the town’s A&E closed overnight has been condemned by a union and local councillors.
Responding to the announcement yesterday by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) that Grantham A&E will remain closed for a further three months between 6.30pm and 9am, UNISON regional head of health Dave Godson said: “It’s bitterly disappointing that the trust has failed to recruit sufficient medical staff to enable the A&E department to re-open.
“With winter fast approaching access to A&E services for local people across Grantham, Boston and Lincoln will be critical.
“Doctors and other health staff have shown huge commitment to try and maintain service against the odds of woefully low staffing levels. We are seeking urgent talks with the trust to see what can now be done to fill its huge staffing gap.”
Coun Charmaine Morgan, chairman of SOS Grantham Hospital which organised Saturday’s protest march through the town, echoed Mr Godson’s concerns about the A&E closure over winter.
Coun Morgan said: “It’s absolutely appalling that ULHT are going to keep our A&E closed over the winter and over Christmas which is one of the busiest periods. They would rather keep it closed that put funding into providing two locum middle grade doctors which they could do to solve the short-term staffing issues.”
Grantham district and county councillor Ray Wootten, who has lobbied the ULHT board to reopen A&E 24 hours a day, said: “The recommendation in the report was to extend the closure until February and I believe that decision had already been made. I am disappointed but I hope they are recruiting to Grantham and that A&E is fully opened as soon as is practicable.”
The ULHT board decided to keep A&E at Grantham closed overnight for a further three months. ULHT medical director Dr Suneil Kapadia told the Journal:” “The decision has been made on not being able to recruit sufficient staff to enable all three sites to be open safely. The aim is to review it on a month by month basis. If we managed to acquire the number of doctors we need there would not be the need to wait until February/March, when we will try to be open again.”
He added: “The trust board chairman and directors would like to have Grantham A&E open 24/7 as soon as possible and that’s our stated intent.”
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