NORTH Yorkshire County Council has sent a stark warning to the NHS, saying any cuts to services will be “totally unacceptable”.
In a meeting at County Hall in Northallerton today (Wednesday, December 19), councillors of all political persuasions spoke passionately about the anger they felt over the threatened cuts to services, including the downgrading of children and maternity services at the Friarage and the reduction of minor injuries provision at hospitals across the county.
Members then voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion that involved sending a statement to the NHS North Yorkshire and York, to make it clear the council would not condone any cuts.
Councillor Jim Clark told the meeting: “This motion isn’t just saying what people want to hear. This is a message that must go out to the PCT that must go out before it closes.”
Councillors then lined up to give damming criticism of the PCT for allowing a deficit to snowball to a level that is expected to reach £60m by March.
Several councillors said the health body had behaved without accountability.
Councillor Clare Wood said: “The PCT and NHS have no comprehension of what democracy really means. I recently attended two very important health meetings and they turned up to neither.”
The Government recently announced that when the new clinical commissioning groups take over from primary care trusts, which will be mothballed in April, any reserves or deficit will be handed on to the new group.
Coun Jim Clark said: “We essentially have a bankrupt PCT; bankrupt in money, bankrupt in ideas, bankrupt in leadership. It’s just good it’s going in 100 days time. It’s not served this county well.”
In a statement reissued after the meeting by NHS North Yorkshire and York, chief executive Christopher Long, said they had commissioned management consultants to develop a long term stragegy that would return its financial state to a “stable financial footing”.
The health body also refuted any claims it had failed to engage, saying for months it had been holding in-depth discussions with partners which included senior representatives of the county council.