The leader of Lincolnshire County Council has criticised a review which threatens the future of the Grantham minor injuries unit, put in place when the town hospital’s A&E was closed overnight.
NHS bosses behind the service said it has been underused and unsuccessful with an unsustainable cost.
County Council Leader Councillor Martin Hill was notified by South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that a review would be undertaken for the out of hours minor injury service at Grantham Hospital.
In a letter sent to county councillor for Grantham Ray Wootten, the CCG added that the service was used by 65 patients for the whole of 2017 against a yearly running cost of £130,000 – £2,000 per patient.
He said: “I’m very disappointed to hear that this service, which was put in place as a temporary measure until the overnight A&E could be re-instated at Grantham, is now under threat.
“Other hospitals such as Louth, have maintained late night cover and there is currently no mention of where injured and ill people would be expected to travel to as an alternative to Grantham.
“This is incredibly frustrating when they should be looking to deal with these conditions locally. Extra cost will end up being pushed onto the ambulance service and other NHS providers.
“We need permanent solutions to the problems the NHS in Lincolnshire is facing and I want to see Grantham Hospital at the centre of overall health service provision for the county, as it rightly should be, serving our largest town and beyond.
“Grantham Hospital is not facing the same problems with recruitment as some other NHS services are seeing – it is being sacrificed to make up for the failures within the other acute services in Lincolnshire.”
The service is operated by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust as part of the out of hours services based in the Kingfisher Unit at the hospital.
It operates as a walk-in service for local residents and also deals with 111 referrals.
It was put in place in September 2016, a month after hours were temporarily cut at the A&E. It was not meant as a replacement for the service, the CCG added.
The A&E at Grantham remains closed overnight.
South West Lincolnshire CCG is intending to carry out a four week public consultation about the minor injury service.
South West Lincolnshire CCG responded to concerns, stating the minor injuries trial was “not successful”.