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Councillor says upgrade plans for A&E at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, are 'a slap in the face' to Grantham residents

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Following the release of plans to double the emergency department at Boston Hospital, a councillor has questioned the night closure of Grantham A&E.

Councillor Charmaine Morgan, chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, has said that plans for a new multi-million-pound emergency department at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, are "a slap in the face" to those who live in the Grantham area.

Coun Morgan said: "The news yesterday that United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust is to double the size of Boston A&E may be good news for Boston area residents but is a slap in the face for 120,000 people in the Grantham and District Hospital area who are to see their A&E downgraded to an Urgent Treatment Centre and other acute services lost if the CCG ASR plans under Public Consultation go ahead."

Protesters gather in St Peter's Hill before the public consultation meeting. (52290852)
Protesters gather in St Peter's Hill before the public consultation meeting. (52290852)

"Grantham residents already see emergency ambulances drive past their hospital at night thanks to the ULHT night closure of the Grantham A&E unit in 2016.

"The proposed Urgent Treatment Centre will not replace an A&E unit, even if it is open 24/7.

"This latest news will no doubt be welcome in Boston but brings into question the reasons we are being told our A&E unit must go from Grantham.

"How can ULHT staff the doubling in size of Boston A&E, and associated ACU admissions, when Lincolnshire CCG and United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust are telling us there aren't enough doctors and consultants in the county to keep all our A&E and other acute services going?"

Coun Morgan recently relaunched a petition against plans to "downgrade" Grantham Hospital.

She continued: "Local children and babies, elderly and acute stroke patients are particularly affected. Some residents with chronic conditions need time critical care.

"For example those with brain injuries must receive treatment within less than 15 minutes if they have a seizure. They are living in fear.

"The timing of the announcement brings into question the validity of the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group Public Consultation, currently taking place and which is not due for completion until late December 2021, regarding Acute Service plans for the entire county."

"Improving A&E services at Lincoln or Boston will do little to make up for Acute services loss in Grantham. Too many critically ill people here will not survive the cross county journey or will arrive in a worse condition."

ULHT Chief Executive Andrew Morgan, responded to Coun Morgan's concerns.

He said: "The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced national funding for the Emergency Department transformation at Pilgrim Hospital Boston, when he visited the hospital and met staff back in August 2019.

"Since then lots of work and discussions with patients, staff and partner organisations, have been taking place behind the scenes to firm up the proposals. This included identifying the total funding requirements and finalising a design that not only meets the needs of patients and staff now, but also in the future.

"The announcement this week is to let the people of Lincolnshire know that we are now in a position to be able to submit a planning application. We have spent time finalising the plans because we understand how important it is that we get it right for our patients, their families and our staff."

Mr Morgan agreed that the news was "great for those who live in the Boston area" and added, "but I would go further and say that it is also good news for all of us who live in Lincolnshire and also those who visit the area, including those who come to the east coast".

He continued: "Having an investment of this size in emergency services in the county is something that is required and is very welcomed by myself and also our teams who provide emergency patient care.

"The current public consultation on four NHS services led by the NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is something that I and everyone at the Trust welcome.

"I would urge everyone to make sure that they participate in this opportunity so that their opinion can be heard and can help to shape future services across the county."

SOS Grantham Hospital's new petition is available online and available for download here: https://sosgranthamhospital.org.uk/

Find out more about the plans for Pilgrim Hospital here: https://www.ulh.nhs.uk/news/plans-for-bostons-emergency-department-are-unveiled/

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