March 5, 2019 5.05 pm This story is over 62 months old

Disappointment as A&E fears come true for Grantham and Louth campaigners

Health bosses refuse to call it a downgrade though

Grantham Hospital campaigners said they are “disappointed” the “won’t get [their] A&E back,” but say but that it’s not unexpected.

Jody Clark from the Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital Group responded to news that the A&E is set to become an urgent treatment centre which deals with urgent, but not life-threatening medical situations.

She said: “We still believe that our growing town deserves safe local 24-hour services, that will meet the needs for future generations.

“If it’s not going to be A&E, but the majority of patients can still be seen, then it’s an acceptable compromise for now until we can build a new hospital in Grantham that has the services we deserve.”

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

United Lincolnshire’s Hospitals Trust Director of Estates Paul Boocock said the maintenance costs of the existing building didn’t balance with a new building.

“While we appreciate the continued support, we don’t feel there’s a need for a petition in this case,” he said.

Campaigners looking to protect services at Louth Hospital, which is set to change from and urgent care centre to an urgent treatment centre, have also called the move a downgrade.

Julie Speed, on behalf of Fighting 4 Louth Hospital, said: “In effect we now have GP surgeries where we once had, and should still have, a fully functioning A&E.

“Our GP surgeries are reduced in number and where we once had family doctors we now have practice nurses.

“We hear all the time of people unable to access GP services, indeed in the past it led to people turning to A&E in desperation to see a doctor. Where we once had consultants, we now have GPs.

“I call that a downgrade and it undermines the extreme value of GPs.”

Fighting for Louth Hospital campaigner Julie Speed.

Dr Neil Hepburn, Medical Director at ULHT, refused to call the move a “downgrade”.

“What we’re actually planning to do is improve what is there. If you looked at what is there at the moment and label it, you would call it an urgent treatment centre, but it’s only open for a limited period and what we’re looking to do is develop that model,” he said.

“We’re certainly not looking to downgrade it we’re looking to improve what the actual offer is as of today.”