Protest held over Grantham hospital A&E closure
A protest has taken place against the planned overnight closure of Grantham hospital's accident and emergency unit.
United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust (ULHT) has said from Wednesday 17 August the department will only open from 09:00 to 18:30 daily.
The trust says it does not have enough doctors to staff the department safely and also maintain services in Lincoln and Boston.
Protesters claim the decision will put lives at risk, which the trust denies.
Charmaine Morgan, the Labour County Councillor for Grantham South, said she hoped the protest would make the trust rethink.
"This is one of the most serious situations the people of Grantham could face and is potentially life-threatening for some of our residents.
"This is a drastic change and it is not even only a night time closure but from the early evening."
The trust said the temporary closure at Grantham would enable to it maintain safe staffing levels at its two other A&E departments, both of which take a higher number of A&E patients.
Emergency departments at the hospital normally work based on having 15 consultants and 28 registrar or middle grade doctors.
However, it currently has just 14 consultants - 10 of whom are locums - and 12 middle grades.
Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director at ULHT, said: "We have not made this decision lightly, but we've made it for the right reasons - to maintain patient safety in all three A&Es.
"We know this will be an unpopular decision but reducing the opening hours of Grantham A&E is the safest option for Lincolnshire."
He said the trust was actively trying to recruit more doctors and would fully reopen Grantham's A&E as soon as possible.