Overnight closures at Grantham Hospital A&E will begin from today for at least the next three months.
As previously reported, under fire United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust made the decision to slash opening hours at the town’s A&E to 9am to 6.30pm.
The decision means that the A&E department will be closed more than it is open.
Hospital bosses said that there were insufficient numbers of doctors to fill shifts in the three Lincolnshire A&E departments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The trust said that patients may be put at risk if it does not act now.
Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at ULHT, said: “We know this will be an unpopular decision but reducing the opening hours of Grantham A&E is the safest option for Lincolnshire.
“We will be working hard to recruit more doctors over the next few weeks and months, and continue to pay premium rates to attract doctors to the county.”
The decision was severely criticised by Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles, who accused the trust of attempting to “salami slice” the town’s A&E.
Labour district and county councillor Charmaine Morgan also held a protest against the plans outside the hospital on Saturday, August 13.
A petition set up by Councillor Morgan to stop the trust downgrading the A&E department has received nearly 7,000 signatures in under a week.