Grantham A&E overnight closure 'bitterly disappointing'

Grantham and District Hospital sign
Image caption United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it had recruited nine doctors but they were yet to start work

The continued overnight closure of Grantham hospital's accident and emergency unit until February is "bitterly disappointing", a union said.

The A&E department has been temporarily shut between 18:30 and 09:00 since August because of a lack of staff.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) said nine extra doctors had been recruited but were yet to start work.

Unison said it was "seeking urgent talks with the trust" for an immediate solution to the "huge staffing gap".

Dave Godson, from Unison, said: "It's bitterly disappointing that the trust has failed to recruit sufficient medical staff to enable the A&E department to reopen.

'Fragile service'

"With winter fast approaching, access to A&E services for local people across Grantham, Boston and Lincoln will be critical.

"Doctors and other health staff have shown huge commitment to try and maintain services against the odds of woefully low staffing levels."

The trust has been approached for a comment.

On Tuesday, ULHT announced the unit would remain closed overnight but said it had recruited "locums, agency staff and permanent staff" at Grantham and an additional two locum staff at Lincoln A&E. However, "due to the time it takes to recruit" none had started work.

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at ULHT, said the service remained "fragile", adding that "sustaining staffing rotas in the three A&Es is difficult".

Campaigners say the closures risk patient safety, which the trust denies.

ULHT says it does not have enough doctors to staff the department safely and also maintain services in Lincoln and Boston, which treat more patients.

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