STAFF at Grantham Hospital are appealing to the Journal to help them stop the ‘downgrade’ of A&E.
In a letter from members of the A&E team, which the Journal has verified with sources inside the hospital, they state: “We know that there are new plans to downgrade A&E.
“The managers of Grantham Hospital are already in negotiation to replace some highly-skilled A&E doctors with GPs over the next six months, with additional plans to change the name from A&E to a GP-run Urgent Care Centre.
“They are secretly planning to do to us what they have just done to Newark Hospital, and we beg you not to let them try to persuade you otherwise, or to suggest that they are ‘investing’ in A&E.”
A source at the hospital confirmed that this is what they believe will happen at Grantham.
They added that it has been the ‘direction of travel’ at the hospital since 2005 when Level Three care - which is for those who need help breathing, support to the lungs and respiratory system, or more than one organ requiring life support - was removed from the Grantham site.
At the time the Journal arranged a protest march against the cuts, which an estimated 2,500 people took part in.
It reported: “Thousands took to the streets of Grantham on Saturday to protest at cuts to critical care services that could lead to a dramatic reduction in services at Grantham Hospital.
“Trust managers say they want to see A&E combined with the GP out-of-hours service and a minor injuries unit. But insiders fear Grantham will end up with a minor injuries unit while a trauma centre is set up at Lincoln Hospital.”
And the secretary of the hospital’s League of Friends, Joan McDaniel, who is also on the Grantham Hospital Defence Committee and the board for Shaping Health for Mid-Kesteven, says she will be ready to oppose any ‘downgrade’ at the hospital.
She said: “I would fight them all the way, and so would thousands of other people. If they downgrade A&E you could bleed to death by the time you get to another hospital. Our A&E is amazing, it’s the gateway to Grantham Hospital. We can’t let this happen.”
The League of Friends donated a substantial amount of money to help with the refurbishment of the A&E department at the end of last year.
But the A&E staff continued: “The recent A&E refurbishment was a sham, with all of the money coming from charitable donations. The vast majority of the money was spent on replacing patient trolleys that were not fit for purpose and should have been condemned many years ago. Very little was actually spent on making a few superficial, cosmetic changes to the environment.
“We feel that the proposed change to A&E services will be much easier for them to achieve without A&E Clinical Nurse Manager Paul Lewis at the helm, and is a major reason for trying to get rid of him now so that they can downgrade the A&E department quickly and quietly, and bring in another manager to make the changes they want, with least resistance.
A source at the hospital added: “It’s our health service, we have a right to a level of service and a policy that’s best for the town.
“Everybody is quite disgusted with what’s going on. There are also talks about removing maternity services.”