We need clarification on Grantham Hospital's future
Column by Coun Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council
As we all know, the NHS is under increasing pressure. That is why it is vital public sector organisations, including the county council, do what we can to work together to make sure our health services are sustainable.
The future of Grantham A&E is always at the forefront of our discussions with the NHS. The recent announcement of the new Urgent Treatment Centres for Lincolnshire has again brought the situation into focus.
While I broadly welcome the plans, it is frustrating that there is still little clarification on the future of emergency and urgent care at our hospital. It is important that more information about what exactly is being proposed and where, is forthcoming as soon as possible.
I also want to see a commitment for these centres to be open 24 hours a day - a 24-hour Urgent Treatment Centre in Grantham would be a great addition to a 24-hour A&E department.
The council is committed to working together with health colleagues, and is always looking for further opportunities.
Our successes already include the Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project, supported by LIVES, which sees Lincolnshire firefighters attend medical emergencies in the first vital minutes after a call-out.
We’ve also made great progress in achieving shared premises and training between East Midlands Ambulance Service and Fire and Rescue at Sleaford and Louth. Work is now well underway on the new joint emergency services campus in Lincoln.
Adult care colleagues work hard within hospitals to ensure people get the care they need when they return home and to keep people at home where they can.
With this in mind, I was delighted to host a summit earlier this month where organisations across the county pledged their commitment to help deliver an improved ambulance service in Lincolnshire.
Extra investment from the NHS locally will provide 39 new ambulances in the county. We want to make sure this funding can have the best possible impact. Therefore at the county council, we have allocated £300,000 to develop a way of responding to people who suffer a fall that is not serious.
This would mean a responder would get to someone who had fallen more quickly, allowing East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) to prioritise the most life-threatening calls instead.
As well as people getting the help they need more quickly, there will be benefits to the whole health and care system, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and allowing ambulances to go to where they are most needed in the county.
A pilot project is planned to be up and running before Christmas and is being funded by additional government money we have received to help deal with winter pressures. I look forward to being able to tell you more about this as it develops, and can assure residents that getting them the emergency and urgent health care you deserve remains a top priority.