Hospital bosses came under fire from councillors and patients as they tried to reassure the public that services at Grantham, including A&E, were not going to be ‘hacked away’.
At a meeting of the board of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust at Grantham Hospital on Tuesday, Jane Bennett, 74, demanded to know if there were plans to reduce A&E.
Mrs Bennett asked the board: “There is a rumour going round that you are going to hack away at A&E services at Grantham. Where are peopl going to go? Overcrowded Lincoln? Nottingham or Boston?”
Mrs Bennett, who has a heart condition and blood cancer among other conditions, said: “I am very well looked after at Grantham. There is not another place that could have looked after me better. Do not try to send me to another hospital. I will refuse to go.”
But the chief executive of ULHT, Jane Lewington, said there were plans to develop the hospital especially in areas of day surgery, palliative care and children’s services.
Mrs Lewington said: “Unfortunately services at Grantham will have to change but Grantham does have a bright future and we have always been clear about that.”
The trust’s medical director, Suneil Kapadia, said: “We do not have plans to hack away at the A&E department.”
Mr Kapadia said he would expect heart attack patients and other with serious injuries to be taken to other hospitals where they can expect the proper care they need. He said there were no plans to alter the type of patient seen going through the doors of Grantham A&E.
Coun Ray Wootten, who represents Grantham North on Lincolnshire County Council, asked Mrs Lewington about day surgery following her promise three months ago that a new unit would be built at Grantham.
Mrs Lewington said management had been asked to go back to the drawing board because the capital costs associated with the scheme were unaffordable.
She insisted the scheme was still going ahead, but she could not give a timeframe. She also said that a day surgery unit would not just benefit people in the town but people from across Lincolnshire.
Following the meeting, Coun Wootten said: “I welcome the positive comments made by Jane Lewington, who stated once again that Grantham Hospital has a bright future. However, I am concerned that the planned day surgery unit is not getting any nearer to fruition. I will continue at every opportunity to hold the trust to its word to provide excellent facilities for the people of Grantham.”