Lincs Hospital Board and Councillors must stand up NOW for Grantham A&E

NHS Improvement – the hospitals financial regulator  – has dashed Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust Board’s plan to re-open Grantham A&E overnight.

Now is the time for the public to demand our hospitals Trust Board and elected representatives stand up for our NHS!

In November, following a successful A&E doctors recruitment campaign, the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) Board decided they wanted to re-open the department overnight, pending an independent review of staffing by NHS Improvement.

NHS Improvement asked the East of England Clinical Senate to undertake a safety review for all the A&E departments in the Trust and to see whether the opening hours of the Grantham department could be extended.

The senate’s advisory report, published this week, recommends that the Grantham A&E department is not re-opened overnight at this time.

Tell the Trust Board Acting Chair Dr Neill Hepburn to stand up for our NHS and demand the government funds it adequately

The hospitals Trust Board is meeting from 9.15am on Friday 15th December at The Reservation in Sleaford, when it will consider NHS Improvement’s deeply disappointing and perverse decision.

Members of the public – please attend and tell the Board what you think. The Board welcomes questions and feedback from the public  in writing by no later than midday on the day before the date of the Board meeting. In other words by midday Thursday 14th Dec. The Chair will answer the public’s questions at the meeting.

Melissa Darcey, a spokesperson for the NHS protection group Fighting For Life Lincolnshire, said,

“The root of this problem is the government’s brutal under-funding of the NHS. The kind of problems we are facing in Lincolnshire are destroying the NHS all over England.

This is why Sir Bob Kerslake has just resigned as Chair of the Board of Kings Hospital Trust in London, which NHS Improvement has put into special measures.

The NHS Confederation – that represents nearly all the hospital Trusts in England  – has backed up his resignation statement about the urgent need for the government to restore adequate funding for the NHS.

The ULHT Board Chair now needs to take a similarly principled stand and demand that the government and its quango NHS Improvement stop this brutal destruction of our NHS and immediately restore adequate funding to our hospitals, primary and community services and local authorities’ social care services.

At the same time, we need to return the NHS to full public ownership, funding, management and provision, otherwise our public money will just be siphoned out of the NHS into private companies’ profits – like Optum.”

Tell Councillors to stand up for our NHS

The Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee is  meeting tomorrow (Weds 13th Dec) at 10am in Committee Room One, County Offices, Newland, Lincoln LN1 1YL – but doesn’t have Grantham A&E on the agenda – why not? It should be a standing agenda item.

The Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee Chair, Cllr Carl Macey, has said on facebook;

“I have an announcement already in place, which I’m sure Councillors will raise there dissatisfaction with the recommendations being made, however this is only an announcement & not an agenda item and of course though we are all confident which way the decision will go, it hasn’t been made official yet, so other then raise our disappointment this is as far as we can go on HSC until it comes to us in January.”

Carl Macey is the new chair since the elections, after Cllr Christine Talbot was removed as Chair.

Please email your councillors  that it is of utmost importance that the Health Scrutiny Committee call in NHS Improvement, the ULHT Board Chair and Chief Exec, and the East England Clinical Senate, to account for themselves over decisions that are not in the interest of the Lincolnshire public and our NHS.

You can contact Councillors who are members of the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee here

Members of the public can make deputation statements at Scrutiny Committee meetings, so please tell them what you think. You can email the Health Scrutiny Officer here.

Lincs hospital Trust Board – find your backbone!

The ULHT Board seems prepared to keel over and do NHS Improvement’s and the Clinical Senate’s bidding, judging by this statement from the Medical Director at ULHT, Dr Neill Hepburn:

“Last month, our Board reviewed the position as we had been successful in securing a number of middle grade doctors, and on that basis we recommended that the Grantham A&E department be fully re-opened, pending a staffing review commissioned by NHS Improvement. We recognised at the time that the staffing situation is volatile and constantly changing as we are still very reliant on short-term agency doctors.

“The East of England Clinical Senate carried out a full review of the staffing of our three A&E departments, and whilst they commended our innovative approach to recruitment and the great strides we have made in attracting additional doctors, they have recommended that it would not be safe to re-open the department overnight at present.

“The quality and safety of care is always our top priority, and so our Board will consider the full range of recommendations made by the Clinical Senate to ensure that we do the best for our patients.

“We understand this is a frustrating time for our staff and patients in the Grantham area, and we do remain committed to Grantham hospital, but we will only provide services that are safe.”

Clinical Senate recommendations are not compulsory – only advisory

Melissa Darcey, from Fighting For Life Lincolnshire, said:

“The fact that the East of England Clinical Senate is in a completely different area of the country is extremely concerning, they do not understand the impact that the closure has had on our community. The Clinical Senate recommendations seem to suggest that Grantham should be nothing more than an urgent care centre.

But every minute that Grantham A&E is shut overnight is a potential life lost in our community. It is essential that we have three fully functioning A&Es in this county. Without three – lives will be lost. Yet again Grantham will be left with no emergency healthcare over Christmas during the night and as a single mother of 3 children, who does not drive, this terrifies the life out of me.

Fighting for Life Lincolnshire urges the ULHT Board not to follow the Clinical Senate recommendations as they are not compulsory – only advisory.”

NHS Improvement fighting like a ferret in a sack with NHS England

A Guardian editorial recently accused NHS Improvement of fighting like a ferret in a sack with NHS England. The outgoing NHS Improvement Chief Exec Jim Mackey said that the NHS’s leadership was “bloody stupid” to expect an emergency £4bn cash injection in last month’s budget and that Ministers will additionally have been “pissed off” with the “negativity” shown by NHS leaders such as Simon Stevens towards the £1.6bn settlement the health service ultimately got from the chancellor, Philip Hammond.

This is the same Jim Mackey who said

“Local politicians need to be managed”

in relation to Sustainability and Transformation Plans.


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