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Grantham residents in a 'dire, unsafe' situation says councillor

Grantham residents have been left in a “dire, unsafe situation” after three years of overnight A&E closure, a councillor has told hospital bosses.

South Kesteven District Councillor Ian Selby was one of several people to submit questions to the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) board prior to the closure entering its fourth year on August 17.

“Our residents have been left in a dire, unsafe situation you still fail to recognise three years later,” wrote Coun Selby, accusing the trust of reneging on promises to reopen the service and passing the buck from staff numbers to safety reasons.

Coun Ian Selby. (4625975)
Coun Ian Selby. (4625975)

“We will not give up fighting to correct this injustice so as you still stubbornly refuse to restore our overnight A&E service will you offer an apology to the people of Grantham for this dire predicament you have left us in?”

New ULHT chief executive Andrew Morgan refuted the allegations of reneging or passing the buck.

“There are still significant emergency care staffing issues within this trust and when we shared those yesterday with the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister they were both shocked by the staffing levels in our A&E departments,” he told those attending.

Andrew Morgan is joining ULHT as temporary chief executive. (11052035)
Andrew Morgan is joining ULHT as temporary chief executive. (11052035)

“I would not accept, as the question does, that this was some sort of wilful act of harm.

“We very much regret where we got to on Grantham but we can’t just reverse our decision, safety and staffing issues remain.”

The chief executive, and medical director Dr Neill Hepburn, fielded several questions on Grantham A&E including solutions, safety and whether the future of the service would include walk-in access.

Grantham Hospital (6391460)
Grantham Hospital (6391460)

Mr Morgan said proposals were still being discussed under the Healthy Conversations engagement, but said ultimately the decision rested with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

He added, however, that a walk-in service may not be the safest option if it led to delays in admission to an appropriate place.

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