‘No closure plans’ for Louth hospital, claims NHS Trust boss

Louth County Hospital.
Louth County Hospital.

A Lincolnshire NHS Trust boss has spoken before Louth Town Council in a bid to ‘allay fears’ about the long-term future of the town’s hospital.

The Mayor of Louth, Councillor Pauline Watson, introduced Andrew Morgan, the Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS) NHS Trust, whom she had invited to speak before the council.

At the meeting on June 27, Mr Morgan confirmed that the hospital site had not been sold for housing and was still owned by NHS Property Services, and that there were no plans, that he had seen, that suggested the closure of Louth’s hospital.

He added that, at the time, the Carlton and Manby wards had restricted occupancy due to fire safety concerns but they would go back to full occupancy levels following remedial works.

Mr Morgan reportedly added that ‘rumours’ about the potential closure of Louth’s hospital had been ‘quite destabilising’ for the hospital staff to hear.

He said that the Clinical Commissioning Group need to be very clear about what they want the future of the hospital to look like, and this would involve close consultation with key stakeholders, such as Louth Town Council.

He added that a general idea about the time scales involved would be beneficial, and he undertook to obtain these and inform the council.

Councillor Ros Jackson asked Mr Morgan which services had been lost at the hospital in recent years, and which might be at risk, to which he replied that none were currently at risk ‘to his knowledge’.

Mr Morgan’s invitation came in response to concerns raised by the ‘Fighting 4 Louth Hospital’ campaign group, which was established almost five months ago following the publication of the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which was released by Lincolnshire Health and Care last December.

The document has raised eyebrows with its apparent reference to the possibility of Louth’s hospital being closed or downgraded.

The detailed report highlighted the need for ‘re-provision of community facilities at Louth and Skegness with single site’, leading to concerns that Louth’s Hospital could end up being closed in favour of Skegness Hospital, or a new hospital sited elsewhere.

A ‘full public consultation’ has been promised ahead of any final decision on the matter.

• The council has resolved to hold a public meeting, with local doctors, to discuss the future of Louth’s healthcare situation in due course.