Proposal to extend Grantham A&E opening times by one hour is ‘outrageous’ and ‘insulting’

Accident and Emergency at Grantham Hospital
Accident and Emergency at Grantham Hospital
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The board of the trust which runs Grantham Hospital will be asked to consider a proposal to open Grantham Hospital A&E by just one more hour.

In a report by Medical Director Dr Sunil Kapadia, of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, the board is recommended ‘to support the continued overnight closure of A&E department but consider extending the opening hours to 10.5 hours during the day.’

If the proposal is approved it will not be implemented until March 27. The closure will be reviewed again in three months.

Grantham A&E was closed overnight between the hours of 6.30pm and 9am in August because of a staffing crisis in the A&E departments at Boston and Lincoln. Staff have been transferred from Grantham to these units.

The proposal

Jody Clark, of Fighting for Grantham Hospital, said she was ‘outraged’ by the recommendation. She added: “I honestly think it’s completely insulting to us.”

On the group’s Facebook ppage Tar Samad said: “In my experience the morning “rush” at Grantham started shortly before 6am as nursing homes starting doing their rounds and found residents who had become unwell or had a fall overnight. This was a regular occurrence - it is not appropriate to send elderly patients over to Lincoln away from friends, family and familiar surroundings. We need the 24 hour A&E we had.”

UKIP East Midlands MEP Margot Parker, a former KGGS student in Grantham, said: “An hour is hardly likely to make any difference. This needs to be looked at again and quickly. Local people know this is a terrible decision – it must be terrifying to be ill and have to get to A&E departments at Boston or Lincoln.”

District councillor Ray Wootten, whose ward includes the hospital, said: “It’s outrageous that the trust has not listened to councillors, residents or protest groups and reopened the hospital 24 hours a day. To only open the hospital an extra hour is totally out of order.”

Dr Kapadia’s report says: “When the decision was taken in August to reduce the opening hours of the Grantham

A&E, a threshold of a minimum of 21 wte middle grade doctors would be required to safely staff the three A&E departments (Lincoln, Pilgrim and Grantham). This report has demonstrated that although the recruitment drive has led to a gradually improving picture in medical staffing, it will not reach the minimum threshold to open 24/7 by 17th February and remains doubtful for March 2017.

“The provision of emergency services, particularly at LCH, remains fragile and requires the continued support of A&E medical staff, from GDH, on grounds of patient safety.

“Provided medical staffing improves in March it would be possible to allow A&E at Grantham to increase its opening hours to 10.5 hours whilst at the same time continuing to provide support to Lincoln County Hospital. The optimal opening hours based on the discussions at CMB, and predicted staffing numbers is 08.00 – 18.30 hours. In order to assess staffing numbers in place as well as facilitate and provide sufficient notice for

nursing and medical rotas, it is proposed that the implementation of the new opening hours commence 27th March 2017; provided it is safe to do so.”

The board meeting will take place tomorrow at 9.15am in the board room of Lincoln County Hospital.