HEALTH bosses have pledged that no hospitals will close – although beds will disappear – as they struggle to cope with record debts.

Financially-troubled NHS North Yorkshire and York needs to make huge savings that could be in excess of £75m in the long term.

Management consultants KPMG are currently working with the county’s health chiefs to develop a long term strategy in an attempt to return to a stable financial footing.

The full details of that will be made public next month and “transformational changes” are expected.

But in response to concerns that are already being raised chief executive Christopher Long has now spoken out in an effort to “clarify” the issue.

“As part of this long term strategy, we are not planning to close any district general hospitals and we will not be proposing to move to a single maternity and paediatric unit for North Yorkshire,” he said.

“Importantly, there will be a continued provision of A&E and maternity services in Scarborough.”

He went on: “We will be looking to change how we use our community hospitals and how we use community health services most effectively - helping patients remain in their own homes and reducing the need for hospital admissions.

“This strategy will, over time, enable a reduction in the number of beds within our acute hospitals in line with demand and will therefore improve the environment and the quality of care for our most acutely ill patients.”

He said they were now refining the options with NHS leaders across the county before going public in January.

Mr Long added: “I want to be very clear that should any of the suggestions require significant service change then the organisations involved are committed to formally engage and consult with patients, the public and all relevant partners.”