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Grantham Hospital: Consultants voice concerns to bosses over future of trauma service

Hospital campaigners attended the health scrutiny committee this week.
Hospital campaigners attended the health scrutiny committee this week.

Consultants at Grantham hospital have voiced their concerns to health bosses after it was revealed there may be plans to remove a vital service.

Last week the Journal reported that hospital campaigners believed the orthopaedic trauma service was to be removed from the hospital . Campaigners and consultants say that if this happens there will be no future for A&E at Grantham.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Grantham Hospital, says services are under review across all its hospitals but that no decision has been made about orthopaedic trauma at Grantham.

Consultants at Grantham Hospital have written to ULHT medical director Neill Hepburn and chief operating officer Mark Brassington with their concerns after receiving notification from Julie Pipes, deputy director of strategy and planning at ULHT, which seems to suggest the trauma service will be transferred to Lincoln and Boston by August with a ‘world class elective service’ based at Grantham.

Consultants say that plans for a ‘pilot’ in which the trauma service would be removed from the site would be ‘unsafe’.

In a letter to Mr Hepburn, they say: “We feel strongly that such a major service reconfiguration cannot be imposed on the people of Grantham under the guide of a ‘pilot’ as this would appear to be a disingenuous ruse to avoid the need for an open and transparent public consultation about the proposed redesign of services.

“In view of historical precendent we as a consultant body seek a written assurance from the executive team that they will not attempt to take away the trauma service from Grantham before delivering the increased elective activity at this site and proving that the trauma service is interfering with it.

“If after a public consultation has been performed there is an agreement to change acute services at the Grantham site then we would respect those decisions and do everything we can to support and implement them.”

Former Grantham A&E nurse Paul Lewis says on campaign group Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire’s Facebook page that this is proof ULHT are being ‘deceitful’ and are removing services without consultation.

The group is asking people to sign its Public Vote of No Confidence. Campaigners were in town on Saturday asking for signatures and they will be out and about again tomorrow (Saturday) in the Market Place with a stall asking the public to support its vote of no confidence in the board of ULHT.

Melissa Darcey, of Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, this week brought up the question of orthopaedic trauma at a meeting of the county council’s health scrutiny committee. She later said: “There doesn’t seem to be an end to the amount of cuts being made to our health service. People’s lives will be lost. There is no other way of putting it.”

Grantham district and county councillor Ray Wootten, who sat on the committee, said: “I proposed a motion that the health scrutiny committee set up a task and finish group to do a proper scrutiny into the financial position of ULHT which was fully supported. I raised a number of points prior to the motion, the support of SKDC Cabinet for the campaign, and in addition, further support last week where the SKDC CEO is writing to the CCG and ULHT to explain the concerns over the orthopaedic trauma unit. I further made a request that the chairman of the committee make enquiries with ULHT and liaise with campaigners to establish once and for all the future of Grantham orthopaedic trauma unit. This he agreed to do.”

Grantham MP Nick Boles met ULHT chief executive Jan Sobieraj this week to discuss the situation.

Mr Boles said: “After the shocking way in which NHS Improvement stopped ULHT’s board from re-opening Grantham A&E at night, it is not surprising that local people are deeply suspicious of any discussion of other potential changes in the services provided at Grantham Hospital. Mr Sobieraj confirmed that the Trust is looking for ways to improve the quality and efficiency of orthopaedic services but stressed that no decisions have been made about changes in the way such services are offered, and that any such proposals would be subject to full public consultation.

“I accept that the Trust is right to seek to improve orthopaedic care but any changes must deliver better services for the people of the Grantham area. I will keep in constant contact with the Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group and keep a close eye on further developments.”


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