ABBEY Ward at Whitby Hospital still hasn’t been re-opened despite assurances from the government’s health minister it would following the end of a trial scheme to treat patients in their own home instead.
Bosses at NHS North Yorkshire and York PCT are going to leave the decision to GPs who are due to meet on Thursday – despite promises from health minister MP Simon Burns the ward would be re-opened while the scheme known as Hospital at Home was being evaluated.
Janet Probert, managing director of North Yorkshire and York Community and Mental Health Services, said: “We have asked our clinical community through the Integrated Commissioning Executive for their recommendations on how to proceed now that the pilot is ending.”
The outcome of Thursday’s meeting will be taken to the PCT’s board for final approval on 26 April.
However, Whitby Hospital Action Group (WHAG) and local councillors are pushing for Abbey Ward to be re-opened as was promised amid fears the controversial scheme is flawed.
They believe it isn’t practical and patients will be vulnerable, especially during the winter months, when care teams struggled to get to some patients who live in the outlying rural villages.
Coun Joe Plant, who sits on Scarborough Borough Council (SBC) and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) said it was his personal view the ward should be reinstated.
He told the Whitby Gazette yesterday morning: “Doctors will be engaged in re-opening the ward as pre pilot, that is what I am going to be pushing for and that is what we are going to make sure happens because the health minister said it would.
“Until we get the results of the pilot we have to go back to where we were.
“My personal thoughts are with the area we live many people will be vulnerable and at the end of the day nurses can only do what they can do.
“They have to get to difficult places but what about the people who are vulnerable?
“They will be affected and won’t get the 24 hour care they get in hospital.”
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