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  1. ITV Report

Grantham A&E to remain closed overnight

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust board has announced that the opening hours of Grantham A&E will remain 8am to 6.30pm, seven days a week.

Credit: ITV News

In August 2016, ULHT made the decision to temporarily change the opening hours at Grantham A&E due to a severe shortage of middle grade doctors at Lincoln and Boston A&Es.

Since 17 August 2016, Grantham A&E has been open from 9am to 6.30pm, seven days a week and 8am to 6.30pm since March 2017.

This will be reviewed again in three months’ time.

The trust says reducing the opening hours of Grantham A&E has allowed them to provide better patient care in Lincoln - where the most serious cases from across the county go to.

We understand the frustrations and concerns of Grantham people and that they want A&E to be open 24/7 but we will only do this once we can safely staff all our A&Es at least eight weeks into the future. We are fully committed to opening A&E but only when it is safe to do so.

Although our doctor numbers are higher than in August, we still have 18.6 middle grades for all our A&Es at Lincoln, Pilgrim and Grantham which is below the required number of 21 to have all three departments open 24/7. Before we can reopen Grantham A&E, we have agreed with our commissioners and our regulators, the minimum number required of 21 for all three departments open 24/7 consistently and safely. Even if we had 21 doctors, this is still below our ideal number of 28.

– Dr Neill Hepburn, interim medical director at ULHT

ULHT reviewed the opening hours of Grantham A&E at its board meeting in May and considered the views of the most senior consultants, A&E medical and nursing staff, stakeholders and the public. Their data shows that the healthcare system is still coping with the overnight closure of Grantham A&E and that on the whole the impact has been small in the number of attendances and admissions at other A&Es.

ULHT's recruitment drive will continue, with the trust still advertising in the UK and abroad and are working with UK and international recruitment agencies to ensure they recruit enough doctors.

They'll review the opening hours at a Board meeting in May.