A member of a regional health support group in Grantham says she does not believe the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust wants to re-open A&E even though it has received a ‘good’ rating.
Sarah Stock, of Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, made the comment after a report by the Care Quality Commission gave Grantham A&E the ‘good’ rating but also put the trust back into special measures.
Ms Stock said: “I have to say I do not trust the suggestion for re-opening of our A&E to full level 1, 24/7 status like we are fighting for, due to the content of the report.
“It should be obvious to do this with Lincoln and Boston obviously struggling to meet demand, but this is not how this will play out. An “urgent care” centre is looking a likely convenient “compromise, due to the continued “staffing crisis”. I have said from day one this is an engineered crisis and one that will see our Lincolnshire hospitals downgraded and closed due to apparent “patient safety issues”.
“We are not safe without these services and the determination to force through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP), which are already in the process of being implemented, has just been offered to ULHT on a plate now. The suggestion to be “rescued” by other neighbouring trusts is simply unacceptable and will see their bigger plan for Lincolnshire Healthcare and “change in boundaries” also conveniently handed to them.
“We will fight this every step of the way. The CQC need to look closely at the STPs to see the connection between those and their report, which will see those services move and down-graded with no public consultation due to “patient safety grounds”.
Jody Clark, of Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital, said it was reassuring to know that Grantham A&E has received a ‘good’ rating, but was concerned it could lead to neglect of the Grantham unit.
She said: “I don’t think being in special measures will help the recruitment process when they need more doctors to fully reopen Grantham A&E. Our concern is that not only will they not get enough doctors, but that they are going to downgrade services even more when they should be opening up our A&E to support services elsewhere. Now that the trust is in special measures, changes could be made without consultation. We will continue to keep up the pressure on the board to reopen our A&E unit.”