Friarage Hospital units may be forced to close over patient safety ahead of Health Secretary decision

Darlington and Stockton Times: FRIARAGE DECISION: Councillor Jim Clark. FRIARAGE DECISION: Councillor Jim Clark.

A HOSPITAL’S maternity and paediatric units could be shut down before a decision is made on whether the services should be downgraded.

NHS bosses warned the services at the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, were increasingly fragile due to staffing issues and raised concerns over patients’ safety as councillors referred a decision on their future to the Health Secretary.

North Yorkshire’s Health Scrutiny committee has urged Jeremy Hunt to order a re-examination of plans to change the consultant-led 24-hour services at the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, to short stay assessment and midwifery-led units.

South Tees NHS Trust director Jill Moulton told a meeting of the committee it would probably take Jeremy Hunt and the Independent Reconfiguration Panel six months to provide a response.

She said: “There comes a point when it becomes unsafe to ask staff to do it [run the services].

“I think we are more likely than before of having to make an unplanned service change.”

The meeting had heard Dr Vicky Pleydell, the clinical chief officer of Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby clinical commissioning group (CCG), state how fears over the safety of the units had risen over at least seven years.

She said the CCG had left no stone unturned in examining all the options, but Councillor Jim Clark, the committee’s chairman, said he believed there was still a case to be made for the maintenance of a consultant-led service.

After the meeting, Coun Clark said he was confident the trust would be able to maintain the services until after Mr Hunt made a decision.

He added he had been buoyed by assurances from Sue Jacques, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, that she was “extremely confident” that Darlington Memorial Hospital would be able to cater for a surge in expectant mothers.

She added the hospital would have no difficulty recruiting extra midwives, if needed.

Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh told the meeting she was concerned over the Darlington hospital’s long-term ability to provide additional services, citing how the trust had moved strokes services there from Bishop Auckland, before moving the service to Durham.

Miss McIntosh said due to the fragility of the services at the Friarage, she would urge Mr Hunt to make a speedy decision.

Comments (4)

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10:15pm Fri 14 Mar 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

Never heard such, Cr---p, live in Northallerton, born in Northallerton.
Never heard such, Cr---p, live in Northallerton, born in Northallerton. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 3

10:31pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Jeff1234 says...

Not enough expectant mothers to keep Northallerton open but pending surge in patients at Darlington? Are there enough patients or not? By the way, congratulations to all those involved, you may have talked this hospital into the ground.
Not enough expectant mothers to keep Northallerton open but pending surge in patients at Darlington? Are there enough patients or not? By the way, congratulations to all those involved, you may have talked this hospital into the ground. Jeff1234
  • Score: 1

10:33pm Fri 14 Mar 14

mixxer says...

It's ironic that the constituent MP, Billy "14 pints a night" Hague is turning a blind eye to the emptying of the Friarage while he is so determined to fill the hospitals of Syria and the Ukraine!
It's ironic that the constituent MP, Billy "14 pints a night" Hague is turning a blind eye to the emptying of the Friarage while he is so determined to fill the hospitals of Syria and the Ukraine! mixxer
  • Score: 1

4:17pm Mon 24 Mar 14

hullgodfreyshire says...

NEXT TIME YOU ALL GET TO VOTE, remember which party CLOSED YOU hospital. IT WAS THE BEST FREIND OF MR HAGUE, A MR HUNT. HE EVEN CHANGED THE LAW TO ALLOW HIM TO DO IT.
NEXT TIME YOU ALL GET TO VOTE, remember which party CLOSED YOU hospital. IT WAS THE BEST FREIND OF MR HAGUE, A MR HUNT. HE EVEN CHANGED THE LAW TO ALLOW HIM TO DO IT. hullgodfreyshire
  • Score: 1

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