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Councillor and campaigner pens open letter to MP over changes to Grantham Hospital's A&E

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A councillor and campaigner has written an open letter to the town's MP after a decision was made over changes to Grantham Hospital's A&E.

District councillor Charmaine Morgan (Ind, Grantham St Vincent's), who is also chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, has written an open letter to Gareth Davies MP over the news that Grantham Hospital's A&E department is set to become an urgent treatment centre.

The letter from Coun Morgan is as follows:

Protest against 'temporary' downgrade of Grantham A&E to an urgent treatment centre. (36466671)
Protest against 'temporary' downgrade of Grantham A&E to an urgent treatment centre. (36466671)

Dear Gareth Davies MP

The Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG) on May 26, 2022 have decided to deliver the proposals in their 2021 Acute Service Review.

These include:

1. The permanent downgrade of Grantham and District Hospital A&E to an Urgent Treatment Centre

2. The loss of approximately 70 acute care beds at Grantham and District Hospital

3. Loss of emergency fracture treatment at the hospital

4. No provision of Acute stroke care at Grantham Hospital - on the contrary, the loss of skilled consultants and other key staff supporting the acute care beds will further reduce Grantham’s ability to treat or stabilise stroke patients locally.

The 24/7 UTC proposed reflects the loss of 24/7 A&E services in 2016 ‘temporarily’ by ULHT. Although a 24/7 service is welcome it will not replace the skills, acute care beds or equipment previously provided according to those working at the hospital. Nor can most acute patients be admitted into Grantham Hospital from the site, creating delays in treatment and more pressure on EMAS ambulance crews.

More importantly, those most acutely ill, amounting to approximately 700 patients a year, will need to travel furthest for care. Their lives will be at increased risk.

This excludes the increased need to deliver care elsewhere to chronically ill patients, mostly elderly, on the other side of the county at Boston or Lincoln. The LCCG is relying heavily in its plan on extending care in the community, which we know is already under huge pressure with GPs and pharmacies struggling to cope with a combination of an increase in demand, declining numbers, insufficient resources and cuts in NHS funding.

Even though the LCCG summary report indicates those with ‘Protected Characteristics’ being disabled, low income households, elderly and children will be most affected by their proposals, and, in view of the cost of living crisis making transport costs unaffordable for many.

Regardless, the LCCG still intend to go ahead with their plans. The LCCG is expecting our patients to travel to Boston, Lincoln, Peterborough or Nottingham.

As our local MP for Grantham and Stamford, please provide a copy of your response to the consultation.

Please advise what other action you have taken to resist the implementation of the 2021 ASR proposals, and, what can be done now to prevent this change that will leave an ‘irreversible damage’ to the hospitals acute services, according to local senior health workers?

I understand you voted for the recent act which changes our health and social care system. Local county councillors advise me this has reduced their ability as LCC health scrutiny members to put a case to the Secretary of state for Health.

Knowing the precarious situation at Grantham Hospital at the time, we trust you had an alternative way to challenge any detrimental decisions by unelected, unaccountable NHS bodies in mind, should they occur.

Furthermore, I understand you support the planned growth plans for our town. When SOS Grantham Hospital asked residents if they felt those plans should go ahead in view of the loss of the A&E at Grantham and District Hospital over 99.9 per cent said ‘no’ . The provision of adequate health care is a basic foundation of sustainable growth in a community. This is basic common sense.

We really look forward to hearing how you can help.

In the meanwhile, a number of South Kesteven District councillors have supported my call for an extraordinary meeting to discuss this matter and explore what options are available.

LCC health scrutiny committee members will be reviewing this outcome having also opposed the plans in the consultation.

Local councillors are doing what they can. They need your support, calling for intervention by the Secretary of State for Health.

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