CLOSING Whitby Hospital’s minor injuries department is one of the ideas being put forward by consultants trying to save money for North Yorkshire health bosses.
The shock proposals came to light when documents containing the suggestions were leaked.
They are part of a bid by North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT), the body which currently provides healthcare in North Yorkshire, to tackle the financial crisis it has found itself in.
A list of drastic ideas have been put together by financial consultants KPMG which recommend half the hospital beds in the county being closed and the axing or radical re-shaping of community hospitals or minor injury units like the set-up at Whitby Hospital.
As a result of the decanting of services from Whitby Hospital, many local patients have to use Scarborough Hospital but that is also set for a massive shake-up.
The cost-cutting measures suggested include down-grading maternity services and moving high risk births to York and closing the accident and emergency section of Scarborough Hospital at night.
This would potentially mean that with minor injuries at Whitby closed and no A&E at Scarborough then emergency cases from Whitby and the surrounding area would have to travel around 30 miles by road to James Cook in Middlesbrough or over 50 miles to York District Hospital.
However, the PCT this week backtracked, saying they were just “brain storming” ideas which might never make it off the drawing board.
However, if they were to be progressed they would have to go out to a full public consultation.
Chief Executive of NHS North Yorkshire and York Cluster, Christopher Long, said: “Following detailed analysis, a number of discussions and challenges, the first workshop has taken place.
“The aim of the meeting was to agree a long list of initiatives which the group of commissioners and the group of providers both sign up to and also look at what needs to be done to narrow that down further based on the priorities of quality, affordability and accessibility, in that order.
“The next stage is to further scope out the suggestions assessing them against three criteria, 1) Quality of outcome 2) Financial impact 3) Ease of implementation.
“This will allow us to develop a shortlist of potential and costed options which can then be the subject of full public consultation.”
A shortlist is set to be presented in January to the Cluster Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups – the body made up of local GPs who will take over the management and provision of local health care from April.
The Labour group on SBC is calling for an emergency meeting of the council to discuss the proposals and is calling for the authority to lead a campaign to protect services.