Grantham MP Nick Boles has blasted hospital bosses for not reopening the town’s A&E overnight, but insists the fight for a full reinstatement of services and against plans to downgrade the department to an urgent care centre is far from over.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which closed Grantham A&E at night in August 2016, admitted that the department would not be fully reopened following a safety review by the East of England Clinical Senate.
To make matters worse, recommendations have been put forward by the senate to reclassify or downgrade Grantham A&E to an urgent care centre.
The Conservative MP said that he was “angry and dismayed” by the recommendations.
He told Lincolnshire Reporter: “I never thought it would get to the stage where they have enough staff to reopen but some bureaucratic entity which no-one has ever heard of has done a report which not only is blocking the reopening, but is also recommending converting the A&E into an urgent care centre.
“I realise ULHT is in special measures but what’s the point in having the board if they can’t make decisions on issues like this?
“I feel sorry for my constituents and campaigners that I have not been able to deliver the full reopening of the department but I will fight on.”
‘People’s lives are at risk’
Melissa Darcey, from Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, was no less furious about the recommendations.
She said: “I said this would happen from the start so I am not at all surprised.
“They do not want to reopen Grantham and they seem to spending more time and effort in trying to downgrade the service than actually save it which is disgraceful considering people’s lives are at risk here.
“If I had ULHT in front of me now I would tell them they are cowards.
“They should be standing up for Grantham Hospital just like the trust in Leicester did for Glenfield.”
‘The fight is not over’
Jody Clark, founder of the Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaign group, was also disappointed with the news but insisted the fight was not over.
She said: “At the November board meeting, the trust unanimously agreed to reopen our overnight service as they had reached 22 middle grades. This should not have changed.
“We pay the same contributions as everyone else and do not deserve a postcode lottery in healthcare.
“Our large rural county needs the three A&E departments we have and already many have to travel far for emergency care.
“It makes no sense to reduce our vital services.
“Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital will be at this next board meeting as we have been present at nearly all this year and will be pushing for a minimum extension of hours so our residents can access local services for longer.
“The fight is not over.”