Fighting For Life Lincolnshire has sent the following open letter to the Health Minister, Steven Barclay MP.
The letter asks him to clarify the baffling circumstances surrounding the Department of Health’s failure to tell the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that in January 2018 Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee referred the permanent nighttime closure of Grantham A&E to the Secretary of State.
Fighting For Life Lincolnshire’s co-founder Melissa Darcey reports that 241 people signed the open letter. Signatures were collected both online and at a street stalls.
The deadline for signing the letter was 27th October. Signatures in the comments box at the end of this blogpost have been collected by Melissa Darcey.
Fighting for Life Lincolnshire sent the letter by post and email to Steven Barclay on 29th October.
Here’s the letter.
Dear Steven Barclay,
We were puzzled to find from the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Chair that in September 2018 you sent him an undated letter, along with a copy of undated letters to the Clinical Commissioning Group and United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.
In these letters you ask the CCG and Trust to update you on their actions in response to aspects of the advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and Secretary of State, with regard to the Health Scrutiny Committee’s 2017 referral of the Trust’s decision to temporarily close Grantham A&E at night.
Please will you clarify:
- The date you sent the letters.
- Why the letters are undated.
- Whether the December deadline for the Clinical Commissioning Group’s and United Lincolnshire Health Trust’s responses is December 2018.
- What the Department of Health has done with the SECOND referral from Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee regarding Grantham A&E closure at night. The final submission of this referral to the Department of Health was made on 15th March 2018 (after a substantial correspondence between the Department of Health and the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee Chair, Cllr Carl Macey, over the previous 2 months).
- Why the Department of Health has failed to notify the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that it has received this 2018 referral.
The Chair of Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee has been unable to tell us what the Department of Health has done with this second referral, as neither he nor the Scrutiny Officer know.
From your letter, we wonder if you have any idea either.
We know from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel secretary that the Department of Health has not notified them of the 2018 referral from Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee.
In case you too have not been notified of this second referral, here is some background.
In December 2017, without consulting the public or the Health Scrutiny Committee,
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust made the decision to make permanent the temporary closure of Grantham A&E overnight.
This was despite the fact that the Trust had successfully recruited the additional number of doctors required for safe re-opening of Grantham A&E at night, as specified by the Secretary of State and Independent Reconfiguration Panel in their advice to the local NHS organisations and Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee regarding the first referral in 2017, of the Trust’s decision to temporarily close Grantham A&E at night.
This decision by the Trust, without consultation, to make permanent the temporary closure of Grantham A&E overnight, was referred to the Department of Health by Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee. But the Department of Health has not acknowledged the final 15th March submission of the referral, according to what we can gather from the Lincolnshire Health Scrutiny Committee Chair.
We look forward to your prompt answers to our questions.
Melissa Darcey, Fighting For Life Lincolnshire and over 200 others (so far)