William Hague's fears over services at Darlington Memorial Hospital

CONCERNS: William Hague MP

CONCERNS: William Hague MP

First published in News

WILLIAM Hague has urged councillors to refer a decision to downgrade a hospital’s maternity and paediatric services to a Government advisory body.

The Richmond MP says he fears hospitals, and in particular Darlington Memorial Hospital, may struggle to cope with the extra demand created by a move to change the consultant-led 24-hour services at the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, to short stay assessment and midwifery-led units.

Mr Hague’s call follows Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby clinical commissioning group (CCG) dismissing any option which would see a more comprehensive service retained at the North Yorkshire infirmary.

The CCG says it has to limit the services at the Friarage in the interests of patient safety, and if its plan goes ahead, the maternity unit there would only be suitable for mothers expecting a straightforward birth who do not wish a consultant to be on site.

Campaigners say the move will lead to a large proportion of the 1,250 annual births at the Friarage taking place at nearby hospitals, including the Darlington Memorial and James Cook University hospitals.

They say many mothers will not want to face the prospect of being transferred by ambulance in the event of an emergency, while the CCG has stated the midwife-led unit would close if it failed to attract 300 births annually.

In a letter to North Yorkshire’s health scrutiny committee, which is meeting today (March 14) to decide whether to refer the CCG’s decision to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), Mr Hague said the move needed to be examined by the panel to address a “very serious level of public anxiety”.

Mr Hague said: “I still have strong concerns about the assurances provided by other local healthcare providers, especially Darlington Memorial Hospital, that they have the capacity to handle safely and effectively any extra demand as a result of these changes.

“We need concrete assurances and firm detail about how local hospitals would handle the greater demands and we must hear more from Darlington Hospital about their triggers to manage a situation where there was an increase above the most likely activity level.”

It is understood the health scrutiny committee is likely to refer the move to the IRP, which would force the CCG to postpone launching the service changes in October.

A South Tees NHS Trust spokeswoman said it had built capacity for up to 600 more mothers giving birth a year, 1,000 extra special care baby unit cot days, 300 children as day attenders and 500 children as inpatient stays at the James Cook University Hospital.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust did not respond to a request for a comment.

Comments (8)

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1:39pm Fri 14 Mar 14

mixxer says...

He and Cameron were happy to hand over £10million (with a lot more to follow) of our money to the fascist gangsters who have murdered themselves into power in the Ukraine yet there's no money for us.
He and Cameron were happy to hand over £10million (with a lot more to follow) of our money to the fascist gangsters who have murdered themselves into power in the Ukraine yet there's no money for us. mixxer
  • Score: -5

8:25pm Fri 14 Mar 14

BB Darlington says...

I simply don't understand. If a hospital is about to be downgraded and a leading member of the conservative party is listening to the concerns of the public, and seemingly cares enough to oppose the views of his fellow conservatives, why isn't he getting support from local councillors and from the hospitals who could suffer greater pressures?.
When the first suggestion of the (detrimental?) change to the Friarage Hospital caused such a public outcry I really would like somebody explain why there is now such disinterest.
I simply don't understand. If a hospital is about to be downgraded and a leading member of the conservative party is listening to the concerns of the public, and seemingly cares enough to oppose the views of his fellow conservatives, why isn't he getting support from local councillors and from the hospitals who could suffer greater pressures?. When the first suggestion of the (detrimental?) change to the Friarage Hospital caused such a public outcry I really would like somebody explain why there is now such disinterest. BB Darlington
  • Score: 4

8:43pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Cat992g says...

Having been involved with Darlington Hospital when my father was there I cant imagine they could handle any extra workload. That facility is a shambles at best and road access and parking is even worse.
Having been involved with Darlington Hospital when my father was there I cant imagine they could handle any extra workload. That facility is a shambles at best and road access and parking is even worse. Cat992g
  • Score: 2

1:55pm Sat 15 Mar 14

BB Darlington says...

But what is the status of Darlington Hospital? Parking is horrendous at most hospitals, have you tried parking at James Cook hospital ?
There seems to be a dangerously high workload in hospitals generally so it seems logical to hang on to what we have and put pressure on thealth secretary to fund employment of more medical staff. Travelling from your own area to some hospital a few more miles away can be quite harrowing if it is yourself who needs treatment or a family member needing to be visited
But what is the status of Darlington Hospital? Parking is horrendous at most hospitals, have you tried parking at James Cook hospital ? There seems to be a dangerously high workload in hospitals generally so it seems logical to hang on to what we have and put pressure on thealth secretary to fund employment of more medical staff. Travelling from your own area to some hospital a few more miles away can be quite harrowing if it is yourself who needs treatment or a family member needing to be visited BB Darlington
  • Score: 1

8:47pm Sat 15 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

DMH is already bursting at the seams - in all departments. It is a woefully over stretched hospital and really needs demoloshing and rebuilding.
The NHS is in grave danger under this government. There are cuts happening left right and center, but the lying toerags in power want us all to believe the opposite. They don't fool anyone and come the next election we'll give them the only message they understand.
DMH is already bursting at the seams - in all departments. It is a woefully over stretched hospital and really needs demoloshing and rebuilding. The NHS is in grave danger under this government. There are cuts happening left right and center, but the lying toerags in power want us all to believe the opposite. They don't fool anyone and come the next election we'll give them the only message they understand. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 0

11:31pm Sat 15 Mar 14

BB Darlington says...

Yes DMH is bursting at the seams etc but even with its many faults we must hang on to it and pile pressure on the (uncaring) government to raise standards. If we lose it there wont be much chance of getting it back.
Yes DMH is bursting at the seams etc but even with its many faults we must hang on to it and pile pressure on the (uncaring) government to raise standards. If we lose it there wont be much chance of getting it back. BB Darlington
  • Score: 0

10:38pm Sun 16 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

BB Darlington wrote:
Yes DMH is bursting at the seams etc but even with its many faults we must hang on to it and pile pressure on the (uncaring) government to raise standards. If we lose it there wont be much chance of getting it back.
And in the meantime countless patients endure sub standard care. That's really not an option.
[quote][p][bold]BB Darlington[/bold] wrote: Yes DMH is bursting at the seams etc but even with its many faults we must hang on to it and pile pressure on the (uncaring) government to raise standards. If we lose it there wont be much chance of getting it back.[/p][/quote]And in the meantime countless patients endure sub standard care. That's really not an option. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Mon 17 Mar 14

BB Darlington says...

So what is the option?
Any realistic suggestions to improve matters?
So what is the option? Any realistic suggestions to improve matters? BB Darlington
  • Score: 0

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