January 23, 2019 5.00 pm This story is over 32 months old

Government plea as temporary A&E closure reaches 2.5 year marker

“The matter has gone on for far too long”

Lincolnshire councillors will write to the Secretary of State for Health again to demand answers on the ongoing, controversial overnight closure of Grantham A&E.

Chair of the health scrutiny panel for Lincolnshire, Carl Macey,  said the committee took the decision after receiving no response from the government in December following an intervention by the Minister of State in the matter.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust closed the department overnight in August 2016, a move which it said was “temporary”.

The decision has since been referred to the Secretary of State twice by the county council.

Grantham & District Hospital. Photo: United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

But the Minister of State wrote to both United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and South Lincolnshire CCG asking for an update on the closure in September last year.

The government’s Independent Reconfiguration Panel backed the trust’s decision, but added that a consultation should be carried out on the future of the service.

The panel published the advice in August 2017 following a referral from the Health Scrutiny Panel for Lincolnshire to the then health secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

However, the committee referred the decision to the Secretary of State after no action was taken by the health trust.

Now, Councillor Macey has said the matter has gone on “far too long” and that people of Grantham deserve answers.

“We decided to write to the Secretary of State because we were advised that by December 28 a plan about how the trust would move forward with Grantham A&E would be disseminated to us,” he said.

“This would mean we could actually give some kind of response to the residents of Grantham who are absolutely desperate to know what is happening with their provision.”

He added that the committee would push for the trust’s response to be released publicly by the government.

ULHT have previously said that the “long term plan” for Grantham A&E is part of the STP and will form part of their public consultation.

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