A health boss has apologised for the upset caused by the overnight closure of Grantham A&E and he says it will make next year’s public consultation very difficult.
Gary James, Chief Officer of the Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group, was speaking to the Journal following today’s publication of the county’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which is aimed at improving healthcare services over the next five years and bringing the system back into financial balance by 2021.
One of the proposals in the plan is to downgrade Grantham A&E to a minor injuries unit with A&E services centred on a hub in Lincoln. In the meantime Grantham A&E has been closed overnight between 6.30pm and 9am.
Mr James said: “We want to see an end to this emergency measure at Grantham A&E so that the department should go back to the way it was. It’s really regrettable that this emergency measure has upset so many people around Grantham and I apologise for that and I think it will make the consultation harder now with them, so we want to consult with the people of Grantham to see what kind of service works there. I think it is highly likely it needs to be a 24 hour service of some kind.”
Mr James said that even if there was an overhwelming desire in the area to see a full restoration of A&E services at Grantham this will not necessarily happen and emergency cases such as heart attacks, strokes and major trauma cases will continue to be taken to other hospitals.
Mr James said he understood why many people felt that a minor injuries unit at Grantham was a done deal. But he added: “I can understand why people feel that way and it is regrettable that we have had to take this emergency measure because that will reduce the trust that people have in us as NHS leaders.”
A public consultation on the STP will not take place until after the local elections next May.