Questions over the future of healthcare against a background of budget cuts

HEALTH WORRIES: William Hague takes questions from the floor

HEALTH WORRIES: William Hague takes questions from the floor

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Richmond)

MORE than 100 people attended a meeting chaired by William Hague to discuss the future of their health care amid fears of budget cuts and caring for a growing elderly population.

The meeting at Richmond Town Hall last night (Friday, January 10) was organised by Mr Hague and attended by health care bosses from the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England.

Mr Hague called for members of the public to have their say and took questions from the crowd after his opening comments and presentations from Dr Mark Hodgson and lead nurse Jo Harding from the CCG, and Geoff Day and Julie Warren from NHS North Yorkshire and Humber area team.

Mr Hague said: “We have a first-rate level of service provided by our health professionals and it is because of the respect for what they do and the high standards of care we receive that we are here today - to discuss how we maintain that level of service.”

One of the major concerns was about the loss of minimum practice income guarantee (MPIG) – cash to top up funding to doctor surgeries – which could spell the closure of some Dales’ practices.

Dr Clive West, a GP formerly of the Central Dales Practice in Hawes, said: “How is a practice that is as remote as the Central Dales Practice supposed to survive a cut in its funding when it is trying to run two surgeries?”

Mr Day said although MPIG was going it would not stop the dialogue between the NHS and local surgeries - and said there would be other ways of getting funding to top up their incomes.

He said: “The Central Dales Practice will be affected but it does not mean we will not be speaking to them. This is about looking at services they are providing but do not get paid for and looking at how they can get that income.”

Other issues raised by many residents was care for dementia patients, and the lack of communication between hospitals in different districts – so patients from Richmondshire that are treated in Darlington or Middlesbrough hospitals have to be treated without the benefit of their medical records from their GP.

Mr Hague said: “That was not something I have heard a lot about before and will be passing on to the Health Secretary.

“I will continue to badger my colleagues who do not always understand how rural many parts of North Yorkshire are – but I will press all the points raised tonight further.”

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