Grantham Hospital - Campaign Highlights
I was extremely disappointed when ULHT decided to close Grantham A&E at nights to cope with its dramatic staff shortage. I had spoken to the chief executive of the Trust and told him that I am appalled at their failure to anticipate the exit of key members of staff and recruit replacements in advance. This is the latest chapter in a long running saga of bad management at ULHT. The new chief executive and chairman need to get a grip and turn the organisation around so things like this never happen again. On 3rd September I joined my constituents on their march to Grantham Hospital and I was delighted by the large turnout despite the poor weather.
Since the protest march organised by Fight 4 Grantham Hospital, as your Member of Parliament I have continued to put pressure on ULHT to reopen Grantham A&E at nights. I will continue to list my progress below;
* Saturday 3 September: Fight 4 Grantham Hospital protest march
* Wednesday 7 September: Letter to Jan Sobieraj, Chief Executive of ULHT, demanding weekly progress report on recruitment of doctors.
* Thursday 8 September: Conference call with Allan Kitt, Chief Officer, and Dave Baker, Executive Committee Chair, of the Clinical Commissioning Group for South West Lincolnshire.
* Wednesday 14 September: Letter to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, asking for explanation as to how NHS England is supporting ULHT’s recruitment efforts.
* Friday 16 September: Meeting at Grantham Hospital with Dr Suneil Kapadia, Medical Director of ULHT, to discuss staffing problems and recruitment efforts.
* Thursday 6 October: Meeting with Jan Sobieraj, Chief Executive of ULHT, and Dean Fathers, Chairman of ULHT.
* Monday 10 October: Meeting with Constituents from Fight 4 Grantham at Parliament.
* Tuesday 11 October: Raised the issue of the Grantham A&E closure in the House of Commons during Health Questions and met with Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Health, with Jody from the Fight 4 Grantham Hospital Campaign.
* Saturday 29 October: You may be aware that I was recently diagnosed with cancer and so I was unable to attend Fight 4 Grantham Hospital’s march on Saturday 29 October. However, Robert Jenrick MP was able to attend on my behalf. I will be working with Robert and other MPs to carry on raising the issue of Grantham A&E in Parliament during the course of my treatment.
* Wednesday 23 November: I welcome the decision made by Lincolnshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee on asking the Secretary of State for Health to examine whether ULHT should have closed A&E. This will make sure we're getting the best possible service for local people, I look forward to hearing from the Department of Health in due course with the results from their investigation.
* Friday 9 December: Ben Bradley represented me at a meeting of Lincolnshire MPs regarding the published Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP), speaking with senior leaders and questioning the impact on my constituents.
* Wednesday 25 January: Ben Bradley is represented me today at the LHAC Options Appraisal for the STP, which will look at option around the whole of our NHS services including the future of Grantham A&E.
We've been clear that we won't accept a downgrade in service at Grantham A&E, so it's pleasing to hear from clinical staff and Management that maintaining a 24/7 A&E Centre seems to be the preferred option. That would mean you'd still be able to attend Grantham with all of the same issues that we do currently.
No decisions will be made today, but this meeting will inform the final decision about what will appear in the consultation over the summer.
* Tuesday 7 February: Six months' after United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust decided to close Grantham A&E at nights because of shortages of staff across the county, it is depressing how little progress has been made. An hour extra in the morning is better than nothing but does not suggest they are taking the situation as seriously as they should.
My colleague Caroline Johnson and I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the PM to explain the situation and ask for her support in making sure ULHT do reopen a full 24/7 service as soon as possible.
* Tuesday 21 February: Ben Bradley attended the STP Debate on my behalf at Grantham Museum, this debate was organised by BBC Radio Lincolnshire.
* Wednesday 22 February: I was delighted to meet the Prime Minister together with Caroline Johnson MP and Robert Jenrick MP to discuss the closure of Grantham A&E at nights. The Prime Minister appreciated the depth of public concern about the prolonged closure and confirmed that the Secretary of State for Health had agreed to initiate the referral of the closure to the Independent Panel as requested by Lincolnshire County Council. We also discussed the problems with East Midlands Ambulance Service and explained why this undermined people's faith in the safety of travelling long distances to A&E in Lincoln or Boston.
* Wednesday 22 February:
Along with my meeting with the PM yesterday, I also invited local Councillors from the areas surrounding Grantham Hospital to come and talk to Health Minister Philip Dunne MP about the issues.
It was a productive meeting where we found out about the Health Secretary having initiated the Independent Review process, and Philip said the following:
"I was pleased to meet Lincolnshire County Councillors today and listen to their helpful insights on local healthcare. I noted their concerns surrounding Grantham A&E. I can confirm that today, following a request from the Chairman of the Health Scrutiny Committee from Lincolnshire, Councillor Christine Talbot, the Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon. Jeremy Hunt has referred the decision to close the A&E at Grantham between 6.30pm and 9.00am to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel for an initial assessment. We are committed to providing the safest care for patients in Grantham."
* Saturday 25 February: Cllr Ben Bradley represented me and spoke on my behalf at the Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital march from St Peters Hill, Grantham to the Hospital. This was attended by around 2,000 members of public.
* Tuesday 11 April: Following the release of the outcome of recent inspections at ULHT hospitals, it is obviously very disappointing for all involved, and for local people generally, that they are once again in special measures. The fact that safety is one of those aspects with the lowest ratings in of particular significance, and I will be pressing the local Board along with Ministers in the Government to take action quickly to address this problem. We need a detailed explanation as to how this is going to be rectified to ensure local people are getting the standard of care they need.
What also came through in the report is that Grantham A&E is amongst the best rated services in the entire Trust, and should be held up as a shining light and given more support. If Grantham A&E is running well then that is clearly an argument to strengthen it and extend the opening hours further, in order to take pressure off the other A&Es at neighbouring hospitals that are quite obviously struggling. I will be pressing for this to be considered closely in the coming weeks and I hope that we can see further improvement for Grantham residents.
* Friday 1 September: I met with the local NHS England Director, who oversees ULHT to discuss the ongoing situation at Grantham Hospital.
*Friday 8 September: I met with the South West Lincs CCG, to discuss healthcare in the area and specifically action to re-open Grantham A&E.
*Friday 20 October: I met with the Chief Executive of ULHT, Jan Sobieraj to press him on the urgent need to re-open Grantham A&E 24/7.
*Wednesday 6th December: I have jointly sent a letter with Dr Caroline Johnson MP to the Chairman of ULHT to press them to re-open the A&E at their next board meeting as a matter of priority. Copy of letter here.
*Tuesday 12th December: Following the announcement made by ULHT in deciding to not re-open Grantham A&E 24/7, I released the following statement;
'The attempt by NHS Improvement to block the reopening of Grantham A&E at night is outrageous and unacceptable. As is their plan for a permanent downgrade in the service. What is the point of ULHT’s board if it can’t make decisions based on the judgments of its own chief executive? I will be seeking an urgent meeting with NHS Improvement to communicate the anger and dismay of the people who rely on Grantham Hospital.'
*Wednesday 13th December: I asked a question of the Prime Minister regarding Grantham Hospital and will subsequently be meeting with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, to discuss the ongoing situation in more detail.
*Monday 8th January: I met with the Chair of NHS Improvement Baroness Dido Harding with Dr Caroline Johnson MP to discuss the ongoing closure of Grantham A&E and the decision made by the clinical senate in keeping the reduced opening hours.
*Friday 12th January: I met with John Turner, Lead Officer and Dr Dave Baker both of South West Lincs CCG, to press them on recent developments at Grantham A&E to see how we can extend the opening back to 24 hours.
*Wednesday 18th April: I spoke with Jan Sobieraj, Chief Executive of ULHT for an update on Grantham Hospital and the rumours surrounding Orthopaedic Services being provided in Grantham.
* I am also currently in discussion with SOS Grantham Hopital campaigners to submit a petition to N10 Downing Street.