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Ambulance takes health campaigner to Lincoln after he fell ill outside Grantham Hospital

Hospital supporters are furious after one of their fellow vigil campaigners had to be taken to Lincoln by ambulance even though he was taken ill outside Grantham Hospital.

Stephen Doll had a fit on Wednesday evening while taking part in the vigil which has been held outside the hospital every Wednesday since the A&E unit was closed at night in August 2016.

Hospital campaigner Bernice Cullimore described the situation as 'appalling'. She said Mr Doll regularly attended the vigilseven though he was epileptic and diabetic and uses a motorised wheelchair. She said: "He feels so strongly about the hospital. Everybody chipped in to give him £50 just in case he had to get a taxi home from Lincoln in the middle of the night."

A hospital protester was taken ill at the vigil last night. (21634532)
A hospital protester was taken ill at the vigil last night. (21634532)

Bernice told the Journal that an ambulance crew already at Grantham Hospital offered to take Mr Doll inside to keep him warm but A&E would not take him even though they were not asking him to be booked in. Bernice said the ambulance came from Newark and arrived in 40 minutes.

She said: "Luckily people there had blankets in their cars so we tried to keep him warm in his scooter. I cannot fault the ambulance crew. But the situation was appalling. It makes no sense whatsoever.

"He should have been in his own hospital. He has been doing this (the vigil) for three and a half years. I suppose this just highlights how appalling it is."

Bernice described Mr Doll as a 'local hero' and said he has since returned home from hospital.

Yvonne Bellamy said on Facebook: "We needed help tonight when one of our own was taken ill at the vigil and our own A&E that we are fighting for couldn't help him and he had to go to Lincoln."

Jody Clark, of Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital, said: "Such a shame our A&E couldn't have been open overnight to help. We will all keep fighting. Well done for continuing every Wednesday."

Those on the vigil were praised by a number of people on social media, but they also bemoaned the fact that A&E is no longer open at night.

Sue McQuinn said: "Such a shame he could not be treated at an A&E just yards away."

A hospital protester was taken ill at the vigil last night. (21634530)
A hospital protester was taken ill at the vigil last night. (21634530)

Debi Wood said: "Hope whoever was taken poorly is on the mend today. The vigil you all do each week is a necessary reminder to our community of the importance of A&E to our town."

Simon Evans, director of operations at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “There may be times when our emergency departments are busy and our staff are not be able to leave for long periods of time as they need to make sure patients in the department are looked after.

"However, if someone requires assistance on any of our hospital sites our staff should offer support and call an ambulance to assist if necessary. The ambulance crews can then assess the patients, identify their injuries and decide how to move them safely without causing further injury.

“We hope that the patient is feeling better and making a full recovery.”

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