To the public of Grantham
‘Grantham Hospital is open for business for a long time to come.’
In response to our public consultation on the future of health care services in and around Grantham Hospital, local people have raised a number of concerns through the SOS Grantham Hospital petition.
In particular, they have asked us why we can’t have a fully consultant led maternity service, an acute stroke unit and emergency surgery at Grantham Hospital. They fear that our plans are putting the welfare and people’s lives at risk.
As local GPs, Grantham Hospital is very important to us and we have a responsibility to commission services to meet the needs of our patients within the resources we have to do so. As such, we absolutely refute the claim that we are putting people’s lives at risk; on the contrary, we care for patients every day and we care passionately about our local NHS. We are committed to investing in the best health care ensuring that services are both safe and of high quality.
Despite our differences of opinion about the best way forward, it is absolutely clear to us that both we, and SOS Grantham Hospital, share a commitment to making sure Grantham Hospital stays open and has a strong future.
It is important to stress that we have to take account of a number of factors when commissioning services including the size of the local population, the healthcare needs of the local population, advances in technology and medicine, and research and clinical evidence. Put simply, small hospitals can’t do everything; some of the more specialist services, such as emergency surgery need to be carried out at larger hospitals in order to improve outcomes and maintain patient safety.
If we don’t make changes at Grantham Hospital it will mean we are not keeping up with changes in health care and therefore will not be providing the best care to our patients in the future as we should be. It will also mean that we put the future of Grantham Hospital at risk by doing nothing: this is not an option for us.
There are no plans to downgrade A&E. We are strengthening A&E services by bringing together the best of hospital consultant led care, and GP led care, in and out of hours , supported by mental health, social care and end of life care teams.
Urgent care for children at Grantham will increase from five to seven days a week. Fewer children will travel to larger hospitals thanks to the introduction of two new children’s bays in A&E.
The loss of emergency surgery as SOS Grantham have suggested is incorrect. The hospital does not provide this service now as emergency surgery is carried out at larger hospitals where they are set up to provide this safely and appropriately.
We believe that the women of South West Lincolnshire deserve to have access to the best quality maternity services possible: for Grantham to have sufficient demand for a viable full obstetric service, the number of births from the population locally would need to almost treble, which is very unlikely from the evidence we have reviewed. The professional expert groups such as the Royal College of Obstetricians would not sanction a standalone service on a small site such as Grantham as it is simply too small to assure high quality. The Royal College of Midwives supports our plans to relocate the Midwifery Led Birthing Unit, however mum’s will continue to benefit from the excellent antenatal, postnatal and home birth service provided in the local area; there will be no change to these services.
In relation to an acute stroke unit at Grantham Hospital, research tells us that more people’s lives are saved by specialist stroke centres like the ones at Nottingham, Lincoln and Boston. They are staffed by highly skilled and experienced professionals using sophisticated equipment that provide the vital treatment within three hours of a stroke. Grantham Hospital still plays an important role in stroke care by providing recovery and rehabilitation closer to home.
This letter has been written on behalf of all the local GPs, clinicians, staff, and local groups who care passionately and have worked so hard over the past couple of years on the vision and plans to make sure our hospital has a viable and prosperous future.
We hope that we have been able to alleviate some of the concerns raised through the petition.
Dr Vindi Bhandal
Acting Chair of South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group