Trust agrees to restore Grantham Hospital services including A&E before end of June
It has been agreed that services which were temporarily removed last year at Grantham Hospital will gradually be restored over the next few months with the A&E unit due to be returned by the end of June.
An extraordinary meeting of the board of United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust this afternoon (Tuesday) fully agreed that medical and emergency services should by phased back in four groups.
The board agreed that in the first phase current services should remain with the green site and the urgent treatment centre. This includes an additional two operating theatres with wards one and two remaining as surgical wards. Endoscopy and MRI services will remain unchanged.
In a second phase, a number of services will return from April 6 to be completed by April 30. These are children's outpatient services in the Kingfisher Ward, sexual health services, outpatients and community mental health services and the Marie Curie offices.
A third phase will see the return of more services from April 19 and be completed by the end of April. These services include outpatients services, opthalmology services (to be fully restored by early June) and the refurbishment of Ward 6 as possible accommodation for a rehabilitation ward.
The final phase will see the return of A&E, open from 8am to 6.30pm, with a walk-in service until 10pm and a booking service through the night.
The services will be reviewed to see if there is any heightened risk of coronavirus to patients and staff.
ULHT chief executive Andrew Morgan told the board the the green site at Grantham Hospital had been a success. He said: "My presumption has always been that the changes we made last June were temporary in nature. At that time we anticipated we should be in a position to reverse that decision around about the end of March...and that we could only restore services if that was safe to do. We would not compromise on safety, in effect, to take what could be perceived as a populist decision."
Mr Morgan added: "The recommendation today enables a swift, phased, but safe restoration of services with the opportunity of regular review and oversight by the board and by the public to ensure that we have a safe and successful implementation of the resoration and that we do not compromise on patient safety."
Grantham ward councillor Ray Wootten said after the meeting: "I am pleased that the board has recommended the restoration of the services which were lost in June 2020 temporarily, however, the public and colleagues are still asking for the return to pre August 2016 where Grantham had full A&E services which is still needed for our growing town and district."
Charmaine Morgan, chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, said: "The full restoration of a 24/7 A&E remains an elusive goal despite it being lost 'tempoarily' in August 2016 without a full public consultation. The temporary UTC 24/7 stop gap provided support for a majority of people with minor conditions but ambulances no longer stopped at Grantham and District Hospital and those in most need of urgent critical care, where time is of the essence, have to travel furthest. Proposals for the A&E unit remain high level and unclear. A detailed breakdown of cases handled in our A&E prior to its closure illustrate just how wide ranging the acute help available was and how skilled our A&E team were. We need confirmation all A&E services and specialists required to support them will be fully restored.
"Although the restoration of services identified is welcome, if these plans go ahead with significantly reduced medical beds, without our team of specialists and without our A&E fully restored, we will be unable to train and recruit new staff. We will have a district hospital on the path to becoming a cottage hospital as happened in Louth. A key difference being Louth is half the distance that Grantham is from Lincoln County Hospital and next nearest A&E, and, serves a third of the population as Grantham and District Hospital."