Campaigners in Grantham have questioned a decision to remove the 24 hour cover at the town’s accident and emergency department as health bosses restore services this week.
United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust on Tuesday confirmed it would be reverting the 24/7 urgent treatment centre at Grantham and District Hospital back to daytime A&E services.
With an additional out-of-hours GP service and an enhanced walk-in service it looks to return to a ‘pre-COVID situation’.
Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital’s Jody Clark said: “It is good news to have the enhanced services the A&E and medical admissions provide. It’s just awful that we lose the 24 hour cover we have become used to.
“I know we are still awaiting the public consultation for a definitive answer but I don’t understand why they can’t run the A&E during the day and leave the Urgent Treatment Centre running overnight, so we have local access 24/7.
“This pandemic has shown that we don’t want to travel on public transport or attend larger hospital sites when we could have most of those services on our doorstep.
“We will be Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital until we get the local services our community needs.”
The move was also questioned by Grantham Councillor Ray Wootten prior to its announcement.
At Lincolnshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee last week, Councillor Wootten said he had seen 60 people waiting to be seen at Lincoln A&E recently.
He asked: “Why can’t we open fully or even 12 hours?”
“You must acknowledge that the UTC at Grantham has been a success, not just for you but for the people of Grantham. There is demand for that service so don’t you think you should at least reconsider the hours?”
Health bosses, however, said that the UTC would be “unsustainable” as staff returned back to their normal roles.
The site was “temporarily” rearranged in June 2020 as part of the fight with COVID-19, turning Grantham & District Hospital’s A&E service into an urgent treatment centre only.
These changes were met with huge uproar, as campaigners took the case to High Court in March 2021, accusing United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust of acting unlawfully and not providing patients with enough locally accessible services.
From today (Wednesday) emergency pathways and A&E services will be reintroduced at Grantham and District Hospital.
The 24/7 UTC will revert back to a daytime A&E service, running from 8am to 6.30pm, as well as the restarting of the inpatient medical service.
The out of hours GP service will also return to the site with an enhanced walk-in service between 6pm and 10pm, as well as bookable appointments overnight until 8am, accessible via NHS111.
The same services will be offered as at the UTC, including sprains, broken limbs, emergency contraception, eye problems and feverish illness.
Announcing the changes on Tuesday, ULHT Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan, said: “We always said these changes would be temporary and following a review of the clinical evidence, we are confident that we are now in a position to safely resume the full range of services to support our patients and population.”