Official protest planned over impending health cuts

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A FORMAL protest is expected to be made over plans to make wide-ranging cuts in health services across North Yorkshire.

County councillors are next week being asked to vote on a strongly-worded motion calling for no reduction in the breadth or quality of services provided by the NHS North Yorkshire and York.

The trust is said to be the most cash-strapped in the country and is being forced to make savings of more than £75m to balance its books.

Areas where the axe could fall are currently being identified and more details should emerge next month when “transformational changes” are on the cards.

The motion going before next Wednesday’s full meeting of North Yorkshire County Council is said to reflect the dismay felt across the local political spectrum over the proposals.

It has been proposed by Jim Clark, chairman of the county’s scrutiny of health committee, and seconded by his deputy, Coun John Blackie.

“There is now a serious threat to the quality of health provision across North Yorkshire,” said Coun Clark.

“These changes are the biggest in the history of the NHS in North Yorkshire, and if they are implemented the result will be an unacceptable reduction in the quality and availability of health care for thousands of people.”

The motion insists there is no room to reduce the health services provided for the “immediate, urgent and unplanned” needs of local people.

It says round-the-clock and consultant-led accident and emergency services together with maternity and children services must continue.

The motion also insists that the opening days and hours of minor injuries units must remain at the current level provided by district hospitals and community hospitals across the county.

The county council first became concerned about the consequences of funding cuts when controversial proposals were announced for the ending of consultant-led paediatric and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

Since then, further proposals affecting hospitals in other parts of the county have also emerged.

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