The results are in and The Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire has voted to refer the temporary night-time closure of Grantham Hospital A&E to the Secretary of State for Health for further investigation.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) reduced the opening hours of Grantham Hospital Accident & Emergency Department from a 24 hour service, to a limited 9am-6.30pm service, since August 2016.
The night time closure was mainly down a lack of qualified doctors and support staff. The decision was taken in response to circumstances that have led to a staffing crisis situation within A&E departments.
The night time closure is intended to be temporary, with plans for the Accident and Emergency Department to resume 24 hour service sometime in February 2017, however, The Health Scrutiny Committee are not convinced that adequate professional, medical cover will be in place by then.
Councillor Mrs Christine Talbot, Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee, said: “We do not believe that overnight A&E services will be reinstated by February 2017, in fact the committee concluded that although indicated as temporary, the closure is in effect permanent.”
“It has reached the stage where we have to take this action to refer to the Secretary of State – otherwise things are going nowhere. ULHT have a recruitment problem but there seems to be no final solution in sight and it may be months before adequate staff are available on the floor.
“Enough is enough and the people of Grantham deserve better. ULHT cannot keep using patient safety as an excuse to remain closed overnight. This will now rest in the hands of the Secretary of State for Health to consider.”
Concerned Grantham MP Nick Boles has maintained his position that the night time closure is disappointing, and “the latest chapter in a long running saga of bad management at ULHT”. Mr Boles has welcomed the referral to Secretary of State for Health and further investigation into the decision.
Low staffing levels can lead to unnecessary delays, poor patient management and mistakes in diagnosing and treating patients.
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