December 15, 2021 8.00 pm

“Apathy” concerns over lack of attendance at health review events

Bosses put some of the blame on the Omicron COVID variant

A Grantham councillor has raised concerns that “fed up” people in his own town are now showing “apathy” to the latest health reviews being carried out a week before the consultation deadline ends.

The Lincolnshire Acute Services Review is currently consulting on plans to establish an integrated community and acute medical bed model at Grantham District Hospital.

However, Councillor Ray Wootten told the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday that he was “extremely disappointed” that staff outnumbered members of public at a recent consultation event.

He said there were 15 members of staff, and 11 public.

“Do you think it’s apathy that is being drawn in, or do you think people are fed up of it and know that whatever their view, is it’s not being listened to — or the fact that you’ve made your mind up and that’s it?”

Health bosses said the event had been widely advertised through social media and other methods.

They said between 30 and 40 had registered to attend but admitted only half had turned up.

They said it was “difficult” to know why people decided not to attend but suggested part of the reason was due to the Omicron variant.

Dr Yvonne Owen, Medical Director, Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “There is quite a fear of the new Omicron variant and it’s quite likely some of the people who had booked to come to the event will have just been scared and possibly won’t have had their booster jab yet.

“The impression I’m getting from patients is that they are being much more careful in terms of attending public venues.”

Charley Blyth, Director of Communications and Engagement, added that Sunday was also a “relatively sunny day” adding: “that actually would have had an impact to some people who didn’t want to spend 2pm or 4pm on a Sunday afternoon in a hall.”

Bosses said they were encouraging people to fill in forms online and had run “significant” advertorials, particularly around the Grantham area.

“It’s not just these events that are important with the consultation… we’re doing a lot of individual discussions and a lot of contact with people coming to us direct for clarity,” said Charley.

She confirmed responses so far were now “well into the 2000s now” adding a significant number comments coming from Grantham.

Responses will be examined by an independent analysis company.

The closing date to respond to the consultation is December 23.

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