June 21, 2019 12.24 pm This story is over 37 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: Ropey start to Healthy Conversations round two

NHS Uber and post-discharge places to stay included in suggestions

The second round of Lincolnshire NHS’ Healthy Conversations “engagement events” had a ropey start this week. It was marred by poor turnout from people, which was blamed on the health body asking attendees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. However, when health bosses do work with people, they seem to come up with some interesting solutions.

The engagement focuses around changes which could see Grantham’s A&E turned into an Urgent Treatment Centre. The aim is to improve treatments and waiting times, however residents argue against losing services and they don’t want to travel long distances to Lincoln or Boston in emergencies, or to visit sick relatives.

Health bosses say they want to solve the issues though, and on Wednesday two ideas seemed to stick out – first of those, community transport, especially at night, which was given the name “NHS Uber”.

The idea was that a volunteer organisation could be called on to transport patients. The aim would be to save cash and prevent friends or family from having to travel. It was seen as a cheaper solution to, for instance, having to take a taxi from Lincoln to Grantham, which could cost more than £40.

Another solution was to use empty wards, or build extended areas where patients could go after being discharged. This would be a room, or rooms, including refreshments and seating – possibly even beds – for residents to stay in until they could be picked up by public transport.

These weren’t the only things either, with calls for better public transport links and direct train services between hospitals. One thing was certain though, residents were sure the centre should be open to walk-in 24/7, no matter how bosses tried to encourage the NHS 111 number.

NHS Lincolnshire is oft-criticised for lacking consultation, and this may be true, but when it does work with residents there can be some interesting results.

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