United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) Board has today approved a plan which will see thousands of patients who have had surgery and appointments postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic getting the treatment they need.
To protect our patients whilst delivering these expanded services, our Trust Board today approved a plan to temporarily create a largely COVID-free site at Grantham and District Hospital for this next phase of the pandemic.
This will enable the Trust to carry out thousands more chemotherapy sessions, cancer surgeries and other elective surgeries for patients from across Lincolnshire, at Grantham.
To ensure the safety of our patients receiving this care, many of whom are immunocompromised, all patients being seen at Grantham must have a known COVID-19 status and follow agreed protocols. Therefore, we will be temporarily changing the urgent care offer at the hospital from an A&E, open 8am-6.30pm, to a 24/7 walk-in Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), and transferring unplanned admissions to our other hospitals. This will take place from Monday 22 June. We will share in more detail over the coming days what types of patients can utilise this service.
In addition, we will be reviewing all services run from the site to determine whether they can continue under the COVID-free model, or if they will need to be moved elsewhere on a temporary basis. We are then planning to begin moving additional services and surgery to Grantham from our other hospitals in the following weeks.
Chief Executive at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Andrew Morgan, said: “We continue to manage a global pandemic situation, but are working to find ways to offer a wider range of services to our patients where we can safely do so.
“We have thoroughly reviewed how we can offer more urgent elective care, such as cancer care, elective surgery, diagnostic and outpatient services whilst minimising the risk of infection where possible. This is of huge importance, as we have thousands of patients in Lincolnshire who are waiting for urgent treatment, including cancer care, and we need to find a way to provide this for them.
“We have determined that the best way to do this in the short term is to create a COVID-free hospital site to deliver most of this routine care in the short term. Grantham is the obvious choice for this.
“We know the change to the emergency care offer at Grantham will be of concern to our local population, but I would like to reassure everyone that this is a necessary step to ensure that we can deliver more elective care for the whole population of Lincolnshire in as safe a way as possible. I’d also like to make it very clear that this is only a temporary measure during these exceptional times.”
This temporary change is part of the Trust’s response to the level 4 national emergency, and accordingly will be reviewed when the current phase of the response nationally comes to an end. Based on current available information, this will run to the end of March 2021 but could be subject to change. It will be reviewed quarterly throughout.
For full FAQs, including information on the rationale behind the change and predicted impact, please see our FAQs here and our Trust Board paper: https://www.ulh.nhs.uk/about/board-meetings/thursday-11-june-2020/.