Campaigners fighting to have full A&E services restored at Grantham Hospital will march tomorrow (Saturday) in the latest protest against the downgrading of NHS services in Grantham and the county.
Campaign group Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire has arranged tomorrow’s march, the fourth in the town since Grantham A&E unit was closed overnight in August last year.
People who want to take part are being asked to gather on St Peter’s Hill at 12.30pm for the march which will begin at 1pm and make its way down the High Street before turning along Brook Street to Wyndham Park.
This will be the third ‘NHS Uprising’ march following marches in Lincoln and Louth protesting at planned cuts to services.
A number of speakers will address the march tomorrow near the apple statue. They will include former Grantham A&E nurse Paul Lewis, Steven Carne of 999Call for the NHS, Julie Speed of Fighting 4 Louth Hospital, Tracey Harrison, a campaigner from Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, and Richard Buckwell, chair of Nottinghamshire Keep Our NHS Public.
Melissa Darcey, of Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, said: “The NHS Uprisings are for the people, by the people. The organisers of the march welcome banners but ask that they are NHS related and so might refer to the A&E, STPs or the NHS Reinstatement Bill.
“We have had lots of support, lots of people helping us with leafleting and people coming on board. We have to keep fighting for our A&E because if we don’t we will lose it. If we keep fighting there is a chance we can save it.”
A police spokesman said: “The organisers have been advised that as they have not applied for road closures they are to conduct their march via the pavements from the Guildhall to Wyndham Park. Police will be in attendance specifically for public safety due to the presence of traffic.”
Meanwhile, Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire campaigner Sarah Stock has written to Grantham MP Nick Boles asking for a meeting a year after campaigners met him in the House of Commons where he declared his support for a full A&E service.
Mrs Stock said in her email: “A year ago tomorrow, I organised the coach to London and you were kind enough, through discussion with Jody Clark (F4GH) to meet with us in the House of Commons.
“I am not affiliated to any political party and never have been and I would be challenging any government decimating our NHS.”
Local councillor Ray Wootten attended a meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee in Lincoln this week where concerns about public consultation on the Sustainability and Transormation Plan (STP) were expressed.
Coun Wootten said he had been promised there would be full consultation with the public from April next year.
In the meantime he will join campaigners at the next meeting of the ULHT board on November 7 in Sleaford to see if there is any progress on re-opening A&E. ULHT has said there could be an interim plan announced for Grantham A&E unit in time for the winter.