More information is needed on the impact of the overnight closure on Grantham A&E on Nottingham and Leicester hospitals before proposals for the future of the service can be published, say councillors.
Councillor Carl Macey, chair of the health scrutiny panel for Lincolnshire, said people need to know the full impact of the overnight closure of the town’s emergency department.
North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAFT), which runs Peterborough City Hospital, said it had seen an increase in patients from three separate postcode areas in the town, including Grantham Town and the north and south of the town.
Bosses from United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, who made the decision to close the A&E overnight in August 2016, said a 24/7 service at the hospital “is needed” for the town.
But, Councillor Macey said the panel wants to ensure public knows the full scale of the impact before any proposal is published in the future.
He called for figures on the impact on Nottingham University Hospital and Leicester Hospital to be revealed to the committee.
“The reason is if we have seen an impact over in Peterborough, then there is no doubt going to be an impact in Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln and Pilgrim Hospital as well,” he said.
“We need to ascertain what figures we are looking at, because it has been well over three years now that it has been shut and we want to see a return to a 24/7 walk-in access to Grantham Hospital.
“The committee has always been very strong on that point and we will continue to push until we get the right result for the people of Grantham.”
Mark Brassington, chief operating officer at ULHT, said there was “no debate” about returning the department to a 24/7 service.
“I have been involved in this since the decision was made and it was not taken lightly,” he said.
“I do not think anybody is debating about the need for a 24/7 presence at Grantham. It is needed for the population.”
Councillor Ray Wootten, county councillor for Grantham, pointed out that the department had been closed for 1,156 days and that the town needs a walk-in service.
“It really gets up residents’ backs, it’s gone on longer than Brexit,” he said.
Proposals for the future of Grantham A&E will go out to public consultation following the end of Healthy Conversations engagement by the Lincolnshire STP on October 31.
Health bosses suggested in March that the department could become an urgent treatment centre.
But, councillors have said that further information is needed on the overnight closure impact following figures revealed by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.
Impact on Peterborough City Hospital
Last month, NWAFT revealed in its annual report that more than 2,500 patients have attended Peterborough hospital A&E since the overnight closure and added it “continues to see an increase” during the evening time.
Further figures from the trust show that the Grantham Town area had an increase in ambulance arrivals to Peterborough since the decision.
In 2015/16, 47 patients attended the hospital’s A&E compared with 164 in 2018/19.
Meanwhile, 291 people from the south of Grantham arrived at the trust by ambulance last year.
That compares with 190 from the same area back in 2015/16.
The trust said its share of emergency patients arriving between 6pm and 8am “increased significantly”.
It added that the trust’s share of patients attending overnight increased from 16% in 2016/17 to 30% last year.
NWAFT said it could not determine whether or not patients who attended the hospital could not receive treatment at Grantham A&E under its exclusion protocol.
ULHT said in its report to the committee that the impact of the closure has been managed and “will continue to be managed by other A&E departments and NHS services, until the outcome of the consultation on Grantham A&E.”
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from our coverage every week and insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.