Surgeon removes 'inappropriate' and 'macabre' crosses at Grantham Hospital
A surgeon has called a red cross placed outside Grantham Hospital ‘inappropriate and in poor taste’.
Khoo Chunkheng, a general surgeon at Grantham Hospital, claims that he has removed two red crosses from the vigil flower patch at the front entrance by Manthorpe Road in the past week.
The crosses have been placed by a group of hospital campaigners ‘as a symbol of the lives lost’ since Grantham Hospital A&E department was closed overnight three years ago.
Hospital campaigner Bernice Cullimore hopes they will continue to help raise awareness.
She said: “The cross has been placed by campaigners as a symbol of the lives lost and ones that will be lost as a result of cuts in our health services at Grantham Hospital.
“At the moment a patient could be stabilised at Grantham before being transferred to Lincoln or Boston. When the proposed closure of our A&E takes place this will not be possible. The plan is to replace our A&E with an urgent treatment centre.
"Just two A&E departments for the whole of Lincolnshire. The journey to Lincoln hospital can be horrendous. Patients will not arrive at either Boston or Lincoln A&E within the golden hour.
“We are trying to get the message across to the public that they are being put at risk by these proposals. The crosses are placed in the new flower bed that we provided and not on hospital land.”
But Mr Chunkheng has described the cross as ‘inappropriate, macabre and in poor taste’.
He added: “I understand the sentiment that it is trying to convey. However, from the feedback I have received, this sentiment is not conveyed by the cross.
“This feedback has come from my colleagues at the hospital and it ranges from offensive, inappropriate, and poor taste. These are people who are front line staff. There has not been a single staff member who has expressed support for it and a number of them have said they will remove any new crosses and report it accordingly.”
But campaigners say that they will replace any new cross that is removed after receiving support for the visual statement.
Bernice added: “We held a family day in St Peter’s Hill last month in support of Grantham Hospital A&E. Afterwards we marched to the hospital and each person carried a red cross. These were placed in front of the Grantham District Hospital sign (pictured above)
“We expected those to be removed but we will replace any new cross if it gets removed. We are getting thumbs up from both staff and ambulance drivers.”
When contacted by the Journal, a spokesperson for ULHT said: “There is no evidence to suggest there have been any deaths due to the overnight closure of Grantham’s A&E.”
More by this authorTracey Davies