Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will not order a full review into the controversial overnight closure of Grantham A&E, after a panel concluded that such a decision was not necessary.
Hunt has accepted advice from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) which was asked to look into the closure by Lincolnshire’s Health Scrutiny Committee in February 2017.
Grantham A&E was closed overnight in August 2016, with United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust claiming that it did not have enough doctors to adequately cover its emergency care departments in the county.
One year on and the trust has said that the “temporary” closure will continue for at least another three months.
Trust board members agreed to continue with the current opening hours of 8am to 6.30pm (just over 10 hours a day) for at least another three months, when the closure will be reviewed again.
The IRP report did however conclude that the closure can no longer be considered temporary.
‘A disappointing result’
Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill has expressed his disappointment at the decision.
He said: “The fear that this ‘temporary closure’ would be anything but temporary, has proved to be entirely founded.
“It is unacceptable that Grantham district has had a substantial change to hospital services for over a year without proper consultation or planning.
“I would urge NHS partners to start that process urgently so that local people can have some certainty about the future.
“I welcome the IRP recommendation that an honest and open appraisal of future options for emergency care in Lincolnshire should be carried out, and that public engagement and consultation is needed.
“I would hope that NHS organisations would take note specifically in discussing the options for future healthcare in Grantham.”
The Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire will consider the full IRP report at its meeting on September 13.