Breaking news: Downgrade of Grantham A&E formally announced
Grantham Hospital will lose its A&E department, to be replaced with an urgent treatment centre, it was announced this afternoon (Tuesday).
The news was confirmed at a joint media briefing by Lincolnshire NHS trusts about a public consultation exercise around changes to healthcare in Lincolnshire.
However, health bosses said the downgrade is simply a change of the name, maintaining that Grantham has not had a fully functioning, high level A&E for years.
They claim the urgent treatment centre will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week - but admitted there is no timeframe in which to make this happen, leaving Grantham with a continued reduced emergency service that is closed overnight for the foreseeable future.
News of the impending downgrade was revealed last week at a full meeting of South Kesteven District Council by Councillor Charmaine Morgan, who said proposals have been made ‘in secret’ by a new Lincolnshire Community Health Services Group.
She told the meeting: “The changes announced will change the nature of Grantham Hospital A&E which will no longer receive the most severely ill patients.”
She went on to say: "It is clear these changes will see people needing critical emergency care in this area will die.
“The maximum time life can be sustained by an emergency crew is 20 minutes that’s 40 minutes less than the journey time we face to our nearest A&E.
“The voices of our MP, councillors and 60,000 people have been ignored.
“We will fight these changes and I call upon the council to support us and back the local communities because we are literally facing a fight for our lives.”
On Coun Morgan's revelation, Fighting for Grantham Hospital lead campaigner Jody Clark said “We have lost enough already!
“They say its due to staff numbers and patient numbers (and safety outcomes) but Grantham is seeing significant residential developments and we could become the biggest town in Lincolnshire.
“We deserve better!
“Build us a new hospital, with full services that can meet the needs for the future generations.
“Time we gained rather than lost.”
** More to follow.