Surge in patients from Lincolnshire attending Peterborough hospital since closure of Grantham A&E overnight
More than 2,500 Lincolnshire patients have attended Peterborough’s emergency department since the overnight closure of Grantham A&E, with health bosses saying they “continue to see an increase” during the evening.
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City Hospital, said in its annual report that more people from Lincolnshire are visiting its A&E department on an evening following the decision to close Grantham A&E overnight in August 2016.
The trust said it “continues to see an increase in the number of emergency patients from Lincolnshire in the evenings” which it puts down to the “reduction of opening hours at Grantham Hospital A&E department”.
Meanwhile, United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust said there had been a “small increase” in patients at Lincoln and Boston A&Es from the Grantham area in the three years since the overnight closure.
Bosses at the trust made the decision to close the A&E “temporarily” overnight due to “significant staffing issues”.
Following the decision, a total of 2,598 patients from the Grantham area have attended Peterborough City Hospital A&E.
Figures from the North West Anglia trust showed 906 non-ambulance patients arrived at the emergency department in 2018/19.
In the same year, 475 people arrived by ambulance at the hospital.
This compares with 385 who arrived by ambulance and 832 non-ambulance patients in 2017/18.
Graham Wilde, chief operating officer at the North West Anglia trust, said the organisation has measures in place to cope with the demand.
“In line with most A&E departments around the country, the Peterborough City Hospital site has seen a year on year increase in attendances,” he said.
“The trust is always reviewing its staffing numbers and skill mix, alongside the physical environment to maintain patient safety, and to as far as possible deliver on the national access standard.”
Officials at both ULHT and North West Anglia said they “work closely” with clinical commissioning groups to liaise with each other.
Meanwhile, Lincoln and Boston A&Es have also seen an increase in patients from the Grantham area.
According to figures from ULHT, since the overnight closure of the town’s emergency department a total of 10,681 patients from the Grantham area have visited Boston and Lincoln A&E departments.
The figures, which include when Grantham A&E was open during the day, show an average of two people per day from Grantham visiting the two other sites.
The number of patients has seen a gradual increase with Lincoln seeing 2,765 attendances in 2016/17 to 3,540 last year.
In Boston, the number of patients from Grantham increased from 368 in 2016/17 to 460 in 2018/19.
Simon Evans, director of operations at ULHT, said there have always been times when some patients from the area would require treatment at other A&Es due to their condition, such as heart attacks.
“Since the overnight closure of Grantham A&E, we have seen a small increase in the number of patients from Grantham being seen at our A&Es in Lincoln and Pilgrim – an average of just over two people each day,” he said.
“However, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition or symptoms there have always been times when those from the Grantham area would have needed to travel to other hospitals for certain specialist treatment, such as heart attack patients travelling to the Lincolnshire Heart Centre.
“Over the last few years there has been a rise in A&E attendances, both locally and nationally. From the figures, we can see that North West Anglia are seeing an average of three extra patients from the Grantham area each week.
“As an organisation we do not specifically review these changes with North West Anglia or other NHS trusts, however, we do work very closely with our commissioners who liaise with all trusts in the region.”
More by this authorCalvin Robinson, Local Democracy Reporter