Doctors in Friarage downgrade plans call for more Government health care cash (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Doctors in Friarage downgrade plans call for more Government health care cash
Point made: public meeting at Hambleton Forum, Northallerton, to discuss the recommendation to downgrade children's services at the Friarage Hospital
DOCTORS behind a proposal to downgrade children’s and maternity services at a general hospital have called on the Government to give them extra funds for health services.
At a meeting of the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in Northallerton , Dr Vicky Pleydell said financial constraints were a key factor in the plan to launch a day care paediatric and midwifery-led maternity units at the town’s Friarage Hospital.
Catterick Garrison GP Dr Pleydell, who is leading the proposal, said while patients in North Yorkshire received £1,474 per year, those in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, received £1,900 from the Department of Health.
She said: “If we had that sort of money, quite a few of our problems would be solved.
“It is something we are trying really hard to change and are canvassing our MPs.
“We would be very grateful for any help that anyone can give us.”
However, she added if the CCG were to get extra funding and plough it into the threatened services, their sustainability would remain “very fragile”.
It is understood some officials at the North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust blame the relatively low level of funding the county receives from the Department of Health for the £19m deficit it is facing for the current financial year.
Many councillors say the formula for calculating NHS funding does not work in North Yorkshire due to its unique characteristics.
In July, the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he expected the countryside burden areas such as North Yorkshire faced to be reflected in the Government’s funding settlements from April, by which time a decision on the Friarage’s services may have been made.
While the CCG appears keen to push forward with the proposal, if North Yorkshire’s health scrutiny committee refers it to the Health Secretary, no decision on the Friarage would be made until next summer.
Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh, whose constituents will be among those most affected by the proposed service changes, said getting North Yorkshire’s NHS funding formula revised was her top priority.
Miss McIntosh said she would write to the new Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, calling for a review and was sure her Conservative colleague Richmondshire MP William Hague would support the appeal.
She said: “We have got the worst funding in Yorkshire and the Humber and one of the worst in the whole country, while having a high proportion of elderly people and the most rural and sparsely populated area.”