Thousands expected for second Grantham A&E protest march

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Thousands of campaigners are expected for a second protest march against the overnight closure of the A&E department at Grantham Hospital.

The protest organised by the Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital group will start at 11am on Saturday, October 29 on St Peter’s Hill.

Protesters will march down Grantham High Street before turning right at the end of Watergate onto Manthorpe Road, and walking up to the hospital.

Road closures will be in place for the demonstration.

A previous march on September 3 saw an estimated 3,000 protesters campaign against the overnight closure.

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.

Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles will not be at the protest after being diagnosed with cancer but has sent his best wishes to the campaigners.

He said: “My top priority remains the re-opening of Grantham A&E at nights. I am frustrated that I cannot join Jody Clark and thousands more for Fighting for Grantham Hospital’s protest march on Saturday.

“However I am delighted that my friend Rob Jenrick, MP for Newark can attend and speak on my behalf. Rob campaigned hard to raise standards at Newark Hospital, so he understands the issues we face.

“Over the past couple of weeks, I arranged and attended a meeting between with members of Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary. I also held a meeting with representatives from NHS Improvement who oversee United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT).

“In both meetings I was reassured that the NHS hierarchy does want Grantham A&E to re-open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that the only stumbling block is the recruitment of sufficient medical staff. I have also been receiving regular updates on the progress to date by ULHT and their senior management team.

“I will continue to put pressure on ULHT to recruit enough new doctors to restore 24/7 services at Grantham Hospital.

“I want to thank everyone who is going to take part in the march this Saturday.

“If we keep it up, I am confident that we will eventually succeed.”

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