Councillors vote to call on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to restore Grantham A&E
South Kesteven district councillors have this afternoon (Thursday) voted to call on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Secretary of State for Health to restore Grantham’s Accident and Emergency department to “at least” the level it was at prior to its closure in 2016.
Members have also called on authority leaders to write to healthcare leaders calling on them to publish hospital shake-up plans and re-open the service.
The A&E unit was closed overnight on a “temporary basis” back in August 2016 due to staff shortages.
Campaigners and councillors have called for it to be reopened ever since.
A motion from Councillor Ray Wootten urged action “as soon as possible”.
He told a meeting of the full council that after 1,262 days of closure: “Enough is enough.”
“The resounding message from residents is to leave our hospital alone,” he said.
“It’s our duty as councillors to represent our residents, do our best to get the best healthcare services we can for Grantham.”
Wife and fellow councillor Linda Wootten said: “The people of Grantham and the surrounding area feel deprived.”
She accused health bosses of “talk, talk and more talk”.
“We have complied with Healthy Conversations and we want a satisfactory solution,” she said. “We want more, not less.”
Councillors including Coun Wootten and Coun Lee Steptoe praised the treatment they had received from the A&E previously.
However, others had fears that those in power would face difficulty in getting anything done.
Coun Ian Selby said previous efforts to “rant, rave and plead” had “fallen on deaf ears”.
“This has been the biggest injustice ever imposed on our community,” he said.
More than 80,000 have signed petitions calling for the full restoration of the site since it closed.
“Until we get that, our lives are at risk,” said Coun Charmaine Morgan.
Hospital campaigners attending the meeting, however, were keen to stress that they wanted a fully functioning consultant-led 24 hour service with full resuscitation facilities.
Campaigner Bernice Cullimore said: “When stating we want a 24/7 walk-in service campaigners should make it clear that we mean an A&E, not an UTC (urgent treatment centre), otherwise the public could be misled.
“The residents of this town deserve close-to-home access to emergency health care, downgrading services could put people’s lives at risk”.
Liz Wilson accused health bosses of “dangling the carrot of 24-hour access” calling Urgent Treatment Centres “little more than a glorified pharmacy”.
Health bosses’ ‘Healthy Conversations’ public consultation was launched in March 2019. A holding comment on the scheme’s website states results will be ‘published shortly’.
Health bosses have said there are “no plans” to reopen the emergency unit overnight until a review of hospital services goes out to consultation.
Officials at the STP said earlier this month that no public consultation will take place until capital funding is secured for the shake-up plans.
A bid for further funding is expected to be lodged to government this Spring.
It was revealed last year that proposals for hospitals in the region would cost around £450 million over the next decade, with “suggested changes” in the acute services review costing £52 million alnoe.
More by this authorDaniel Jaines, Local Democracy Reporter