A minor injuries unit could be put in place at Grantham Hospital to operate into the late evening – but it is a long way off.
The news was announced in a statement received this afternoon by the chief officer for South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Allan Kitt, after a tweet sent by the leader of Lincolnshire County Council caused confusion.
The tweet from Coun Martin Hill appeared to suggest Grantham A&E unit – which has controverisally been closed between 6.30pm and 9am daily since last Wednesday – would remain open until 11.30pm.
The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was quick to deny this and the statement from Mr Kitt followed shortly after, announcing that a ‘new short-term minor illness and injuries service’ may be introduced at Grantham.
However, it will be ‘some time’ before this is a reality. Meanwhile, the night-time closure of the A&E is supposedly only for three months, although ULHT medical director Suneil Kapadia has admitted it may be for longer.
Mr Kitt said: “We are working together with Lincolnshire Community Health Services to develop a new short-term minor illness and injuries service, which would work as part of out of hours after 6.30pm until around 11.30pm (A&E will be closed between 6.30pm and 9am).
“This would not be an A&E service, but would enable us to see just how much demand there is for such a service and if it is the right kind of service for the people of Grantham.
“It will take us some time to get it established and it will of course be dependent on us being able to recruit very quickly staff with the right skills; we aim to try and get something up and running by mid-September subject to recruitment.”
**12.59pm: Hospital bosses say they have not agreed to keep Grantham’s A&E unit open longer into the evening, despite a tweet from the leader of Lincolnshire County Council saying otherwise.
About an hour ago, Councillor Martin Hill sent out a tweet reading: “Pleased to say we have got agreement from the NHS that Grantham hospital will remain open to the public until 11.30pm 7 days a week.”
However, the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust sent a tweet just minutes later to deny this, saying: “Just to confirm A&E at Grantham remains closed from 6.30pm - 9am, 7 days a week.”
This was backed up by a call from the Journal to the trust, which confirmed Grantham’s A&E department is to continue to close at 6.30pm each night and reopen at 9am each morning.