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'Death knell' rung for Grantham A&E

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The “death knell” has been rung for Grantham A&E, an emotional council meeting was told this afternoon (Tuesday).

Councillor Charmaine Morgan warned that lives would be lost when seriously ill patients were sent to Lincoln instead.

She wanted South Kesteven District Council to unanimously stand against the recent decision to replace the department with a 24-hour Urgent Treatment Centre.

Grantham A&E is to be replaced by an urgent treatment centre. (55898928)
Grantham A&E is to be replaced by an urgent treatment centre. (55898928)

However, a compromise amendment was agreed on which said the council ‘deeply regretted’ the changes but didn’t oppose them.

In a passionate speech, Councillor Morgan told the meeting: “700 more people will suffer each year when they are sent from Grantham to Lincoln. This is the death knell of our A&E.

“Time and distance can mean the different between life and death.”

Her motion warned: “Any loss of care will result in the most sick, most vulnerable, the disabled and those without cars having to travel furthest for acute medical treatment.”

The changes would mean there would be 70 fewer acute care beds and no acute stroke care.

There was friction between the political groups when the Conservatives tabled their own amendment, with some councillors saying it was “disappointing” they couldn’t have been united.

A compromise was eventually agreed, saying the council “deeply regrets the downgrade of emergency services and supports the return of 24/7 access. It strongly hope this will be permanent and looks forward to the expansion as the town grows further.”

Council leader Kelham Cooke said: “These decisions are ultimately made by the CCG and the United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust – we aren’t the decision makers here. The important thing is we get those hospital doors open 24/7.”

Councillor Ray Wootten said he feared that patients being sent to Lincoln would face long delays after he recently endured a 13-hour wait following a stroke.

“I worry that A&E waiting times there are too long and they simply can’t cope. The wait I had was disgraceful,” he said.

The change is part of a shake-up of Lincolnshire’s NHS services which the CCG says will offer better care and reduced waiting times for patients.

Councillor Lee Steptoe walked out of the meeting in disgust early on, saying he had expected cross-party agreement but Conservatives had “thrown in the towel”.

The Urgent Treatment Centre is expected to be fully operational in the next 12 to 18 months.

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