Health boss on hospital cuts

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THE BOSS of healthcare in Whitby and North Yorkshire has been forced to issue a statement this week after leaked documents recommended that the town’s minor injuries department should close in a bid to cut costs.

Chris Long, chief executive of NHS North Yorkshire and York, Christopher Long, said he was clarifying a few concerns raised after last week’s revelations.

The leaked document, drawn up by a team of consultants employed by the trust, suggest Whitby Hospital’s minor injuries unit closes and that maternity and A&E services at Scarborough Hospital are re-located and cut at night respectively.

That would mean people and patients in the Whitby and surrounding area having to travel to York or Middlesbrough in emergency cases.

Although Mr Long has since said there will continue to be maternity and A&E provision at Scarborough, he wouldn’t elaborate at what times of day and to what level.

His statement also suggests that the role of community hospitals, like Whitby, are going to change - further putting the future of the hospital in doubt.

He said: “We are not planning to close any district general hospitals and we will not be proposing to move to a single maternity and paediatric unit for North Yorkshire.

“Importantly, there will be a continued provision of A&E and maternity services in Scarborough.

“We will be looking to change how we use our community hospitals and how we use community health services most effectively - helping patients remain in their own homes and reducing the need for hospital admissions.

“This strategy will, over time, enable a reduction in the number of beds within our acute hospitals in line with demand and will therefore improve the environment and the quality of care for our most acutely ill patients.”

A shortlist of options will be presented to the trust’s board at a meeting in January and Mr Long has refused to comment further on the situation until then.

Whitby’s MP, Robert Goodwill has vowed to fight the suggestions should they be progressed and also briefed the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Huunt on the situation.