Posted: 19.04.21 at 14:50 by The Editor
The boss of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has expressed 'regret' that ULHT didn't carry out enough consultation over Covid-related changes at Grantham hospital.
His comments follow a High Court decision which says the trust breached its legal duty concerning the changes which took place last year, as reported by Nub News.
Last year, the trust changed the Grantham hospital site to a Covid-free 'green zone' so it could focus on cancer treatments.
But it also controversially 'downgraded' Grantham's A&E department into an Urgent Treatment Centre, though with longer operating hours.
Services are now to be 'restored' to what they were before.
Andrew Morgan, ULHT Chief Executive, said in a statement: "We regret that we didn’t involve service users sufficiently whilst making temporary changes to our services to protect the health and wellbeing of our patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We apologise to anyone who would have liked to have been more involved in the development of our plans. We accept the ruling and will not be appealing.
"We note that the issue in this case was the process by which the decision to create a Grantham Green site was reached, rather than the merits of the decision itself.
"We are pleased that the judge has rejected the claim that the decision itself was unsound, and makes clear that the decision was perfectly rational and was taken in good faith and for proper purposes.
"The judge also commented that there is evidence that numerous patients welcomed the changes and that this is unsurprising given that the decision itself had a great deal to commend it and appears to have been beneficial to many members of the community in Lincolnshire.
"We will reflect on the judge’s ruling and amend and improve our public involvement processes for the future.”
The case had been brought by Grantham patient Jayne Dawson, who as reported on Friday, who welcomed the court decision, saying local people should have been consulted about the changes.
She said she hoped that services can be restored to what they were before the pandemic, adding she and other patients felt they were placed at greater Covid-risk from having to travel away from Grantham for procedures.
Fellow campaigner Coun Charmaine Morgan of SOS Grantham Hospital added that while the changes were made in good faith, the judgement confirmed that even in a pendemic, changes must be consulted upon properly, as reported by Nub News on Saturday.