Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Hospital's services will be downgraded, say health chiefs
CAMPAIGNERS are furious that only two options concerning the future of a North- East hospital will be considered – which both involve downgrading services.
A further option of retaining children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton , has been ruled out.
The two options will now go out to public consultation before a final decision is taken by North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust.
Following a series of public meetings, a report was compiled by Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group which contained three options for the hospital’s future.
The first was for services to remain as they are, the second was for a midwifery-led maternity unit and short-stay paediatric children’s assessment unit and the third was for a paediatric outpatient service and midwifery-led maternity service.
The report was discussed at meeting of the primary care trust in York yesterday, which heard that the vast majority of people attending the public meetings wanted services to remain as they are.
However, Chris Long, chief executive of the trust, said he had taken preliminary legal advice and had decided only to consult on options two and three, which involved downgrading services.
“We could not consult on an option we will not be able to deliver,” he said. “In the context of option one we have two challenges. The first is the relatively small clinical commissioning group with a relatively small turnover. A small clinical commissioning group turning over less than £150m a year has to put up the initial money to make the service sustainable.”
The meeting heard some consultants were approaching retirement and health care professionals were now trained to be skilled in specific areas rather than general areas, and, in order to retain the current service, extra staff would have to be appointed – something which was unaffordable.
The clinical commissioning group agreed to back option two. Speaking afterwards, David Williamson, from Save The Friarage action group, said he was outraged the option for keeping full maternity and children’s services had been dismissed on the grounds of cost.
North Yorkshire county councillor John Blackie was furious the meeting had proceeded when flooding had prevented him and many others reaching York.
He said: “Quite clearly option one is what everybody wants. It is the public that are served by the NHS, not the other way round.”