Today (Friday 15 December) the Board at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) agreed to accept East of England Clinical Senate’s recommendation to not change the opening hours of Grantham A&E on the grounds of patient safety for Lincolnshire residents. This is also in line with NHS Improvement’s advice. We are aware of discussions happening within other bodies including Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee and Board committed to reflect on their recommendations at future board meetings.
In line with the senate’s recommendations, ULHT Board also agreed to move to a single A&E team across the three departments and to standardise systems and processes. We hope this will provide better training opportunities for staff and better patient experiences. Board also urged the CCG to agree at pace a future model on emergency care in Grantham.
While we know many people in the Grantham area will be disappointed with this announcement, it is made in the best interests of patient safety for all of Lincolnshire’s residents . The clinical senate, which is made up of experienced clinicians says that extending the opening hours of Grantham A&E “would clearly create additional pressure and could potentially put patients at risk”.
The quality and safety of care is always our top priority and so our Board has carefully considered the report to make sure we do the best for our all of patients.
Changing the opening hours of Grantham A&E has allowed us to provide better patient care in Lincoln – where the most serious cases from across the county go to and our own data shows that the healthcare system is still coping with the overnight closure of Grantham A&E. On the whole the impact has been small in the number of attendances and admissions at other A&Es.
Though not ideal, we agree with the senate’s view that maintaining the current opening hours is the safest option for the provision of emergency care for the people of Lincolnshire including those who live in the Grantham and district area.
To decision to close Grantham A&E overnight was originally made, and continues to be made, on the grounds of patient safety and had nothing to do with the long-term future for the hospital.
We want to reassure people that no final decision has been made on the future of Grantham A&E. This will be the decision of the local clinical commissioning groups and we are supporting them and our other partners to review the options on the long-term future of Grantham, as part of the sustainability and transformation plan (STP).
The department’s opening hours will remain 8am and 6.30pm 7 days a week until a sustainable solution can be consulted on with the public and agreed.