About SOS Grantham Hospital
Learn all about SOS Grantham Hospital (SOSGH), the cross-party campaign organisation whose members all value the provision of local NHS hospital services.
We have been fighting for Grantham Hospital acute services for over a decade. Before then community members including the late Councillor John Hurst campaigned to keep our hospital.
We first campaigned against the Primary Care Trust (PCT) plans to close our Maternity Unit and downgrade our A&E unit. A petition of over 25,000 signatures was collated and taken to Downing Street on coaches organised by SOSGH and with the support of Grantham Hospital Defence Committee. The PCT listened to us and decided to keep the Maternity Unit and A&E open.
SOSGH have been campaigning ever since responding to a series of threats in an ever more challenging environment.
Without this work we would have neither a local hospital nor an A&E unit today.
What has SOSGH achieved?
- SOSGH started a petition in May 2016 to oppose the downgrade of Grantham Hospital Accident & Emergency, which has now received over 32,000 signatures. Our communities have been working tirelessly to collect and collate the signatures on the paper petition forms. The petition is on going up and until the Public Announcement of the STP after which we are handing the petition to 10 Downing Street.
- SOSGH organised a rally within 3 days after the news broke on 10 August 2016 that ULHT planned to close our &E at night time for ‘safety reasons’. Over 300 people attended the rally. At this rally it was agreed:
- A Strategic Plan to oppose the closure through legal means (where appropriate) and through campaigning/lobbying would be necessary. A Short Term and Long Term approach would be required as although there are issues relating to United Lincoln Health Trust (ULHT) there are also issues regarding Government Policy – especially the centralisation of A&E units nationally that are affecting our local services, particularly in rural areas.
- That funds should be raised and used for the following purposes:
- Any legal costs
- Any necessary campaign costs
In the event that the funds were not spent they would be donated for charitable use after public consultation.
NB: Since then a number of people have suggested that if we lose our A&E funds could be used to purchase defibrillators for the Grantham area. An SOS Grantham Hospital bank account has been set up with the kind assistance of Yorkshire Bank (Grantham Branch)
- SOSGH provided background support for the Fighting4 Protest March on 3 September.
- SOSGH worked with Leigh Day solicitors to identify the possibility of progressing a Judicial Review. The first stage of this process was completed with a letter being written to ULHT advising them of our potential action and raising a series of questions regarding the decision making process. The response which came back led Leigh Day to advise that because the unit was closed for ‘safety reasons’ it would not be appropriate to progress with a Judicial Review which at best would result in a Consultation. As ULHT had already committed to consult with the public all we could do would be to challenge how they consult. However an analysis of the material presented by ULHT and subsequent public statements by ULHT exec board members has raised a number of other questions that have led to on going work on exploring the viability of a case for Misconduct in Public Office and a case for the Parliamentary & Health Services Ombudsman. A summary Strategic document was produced and shared publicly highlighting the main issues identified.
- SOSGH members shared the idea of holding a vigil outside the hospital every Wednesday, and wish to thank everyone in our community for their on going support.
- SOSGH was active in lobbying and debating at both South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) and Lincoln County Council (LCC) receiving unanimous support from both councils who almost unprecedented voted unanimously to call for Grantham Hospital A&E to be reopened.
- SOSGH have written to and met members of ULHT board to put key concerns
- SOSGH are monitoring the LCC Health Scrutiny Committee, speaking and providing evidence to the committee.
- SOSGH are working in confidence to collate vital evidence toward their case for the Parliamentary Services Ombudsman.
- SOSGH is working in confidence with health staff and legal representatives to write the case for the Misconduct in Public Office to be submitted to the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) if deemed appropriate considering the strength of evidence available.
- SOSGH members are submitting the Stop ULHT downgrading Grantham Hospital A&E Petition once the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are released publicly.
- SOSGH members are scrutinizing the STPs and will take campaign action accordingly.
- SOSGH members are building our website with direct link to the Facebook page – we are encouraging people from the wider community to join us on both sites where they will receive regular updates.
- SOSGH has organised a protest march on 29 October 2016, as announced at the rally on 14 August, and liaised with the Police, the LCC Highway Department and the District Council and First Aid suppliers in order to provide a safe environment for protestors.
- SOSGH members have established a network of media contacts due to over a decade of campaigning on behalf of our hospital that we work with to promote our campaign locally, regionally and nationally.
- SOSGH members are resolved to continue fighting for our hospital and our hospital services.
- SOSGH members work with like-minded individuals and groups locally and nationally fighting to protect our vital NHS services.