A human rights solicitor has claimed that the decision to close Grantham’s Accident and Emergency department is “unlawful”.
Rosa Curling, human rights solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, said that the controversial move was made without a public consultation.
As previously reported, 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.
Curling, who represents the SOS Grantham group, campaigning to restore the full A&E service, said: “It is our opinion that the decision to close Grantham hospital overnight for the next three months is unlawful.
“It was taken without proper patient involvement.
Any decision to close an A&E department at a popular local hospital is a serious decision that clearly requires a proper consultation process.
“The people of Grantham are being denied vital services and we are now representing the SOS Grantham hospital group in their fight to that the people of Grantham have a strong voice in the NHS decision making process.
“Their voice must be heard before any changes are made to vital local NHS services.”
Leigh Day has sent a ‘Letter Before Action’ to the trust setting out why they believe their actions are unlawful.
The law firm is now waiting for a response before deciding how to proceed.
Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at ULHT, said: “Due to a severe shortage of doctors, we had to make this difficult decision quickly, so it hasn’t been a perfect process.
“We didn’t act unilaterally and worked with NHS partners and other stakeholders where possible.
“As the closure is temporary and made quickly on the grounds of patient safety, unfortunately we were not able to consult the public.
“We are committed to involving the public and patients in our long-term plans and decisions, and are fully committed to the Lincolnshire Health and Care consultation.
“Over the next few months, we will be going out talking to ULHT members and community groups about Grantham A&E to understand how this is affecting people.”