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Councillor demands NHS boss reveals plans for the future of Grantham A&E

A councillor whose ward includes Grantham Hospital is calling on the boss of the NHS to reveal its plans for the future of Grantham A&E.

Councillor Ray Wootten, a county councillor and district councillor for the St Wulfram's ward and a campaigner for the hospital, says it is now time for plans for the A&E unit to be published.

Coun Wootten said: "I call upon Sir Simon Stevens chief executive of NHS England and the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group to publish the Acute Service Review for the future health services in Lincolnshire and in particular plans for Grantham Accident & Emergency Service.

A&E is due to return to Grantham Hospital by the end of June. (27371690)
A&E is due to return to Grantham Hospital by the end of June. (27371690)

"Since August 2016 the A&E services have been closed overnight as a temporary measure due to the lack of middle grade doctors - recruitment had addressed that situation but the East of England Clinical Senate recommendation to ULHT in 2017 was not to change the opening hours of Grantham A&E on the grounds of patient safety, which the Board of ULHT agreed with."

Grantham A&E was replaced with an urgent treatment centre last year when Grantham Hospital was turned into a green site to make it Covid-free and therefore able to continue safely with planned operations.

In March, the board of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust agreed to restore services which had been temporarily removed last year. The A&E unit is due to return by the end of June with opening hours of 8am to 6.30pm, with a walk-in service until 10pm and booking service throughout the night.

Coun Wootten added: "The people of Grantham and the surrounding area have been inconvenienced with the loss of services and I feel we need more services with an expanding population and housing growth.

"During the election campaign I heard so many horror stories, for example, where patients are having to travel to Boston for ophthalmic services. In one case a lady with dementia incurred a day’s loss of pay for her family member to transport her for her appointment; others have paid expensive taxi fares as Boston Pilgrim is not easily accessible.

"I can appreciate the pandemic has held up things but we need to know where we stand for our local health care. Sir Simon Stevens should release these plans before he retires in July so there can be a full, clear and transparent consultation with the public before any permanent changes can be made."

A spokesperson for NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: "The NHS in Lincolnshire has been developing options for the future configuration of some of our hospital services over the past few years and there has been comprehensive engagement across the county in relation to this. The next stage in the process is for there to be a comprehensive public consultation exercise in relation to these changes and we are currently awaiting approval from NHS England for us to take this work forwards.

"When the launch of this consultation is imminent, we will again spread the word far and wide across Lincolnshire to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get involved and share their views. It is important to note this is a regulated process and, as such, we cannot launch the consultation until regulators give the go ahead. We will continue to keep our stakeholders and the public informed of any progress."

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