Health bosses approve Abbey ward decision

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RECOMMENDATIONS to re-open the Abbey ward at Whitby Hospital have been given the go-ahead because of a lack of support for a pilot scheme which saw patients treated in their own homes.

At a meeting on Tuesday the board of the NHS North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust backed the findings of independent health experts who said what was dubbed ‘Hospital at Home’ needed more work.

While there was some positive feedback the report said closing down the Abbey ward to make way for the six month trial had resulted in “a culture of mistrust; blame and lack of co-operation”.

Whitby Hospital Action Group (WHAG) who have long campaigned to safeguard the future of Whitby Hospital said it was “a victory for common sense.”

Member Alf Abbott said: “All the members are over the moon the PCT have finally decided to put the wards back again as to what the hospital minister, Robert Goodwill and North Yorkshire County Council’s Health and Scrutiny Committee have told them.

“It will make it easier for everybody. Patients are being looked after properly, I’m not saying they weren’t being looked after properly at home, but they will all be under one roof and get better quickly and go home even better and the doctor and nurses are not running around after them.”

The PCT says one of the main reasons for going back to the drawing board was a lack of support for the project, now called ‘enhanced community team pilots’, from local GPs.

There will be a phased re-opening of the ward over a period of three months pending staff recruitment.

Sue Metcalfe, deputy chief executive at NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: “We are following the recommendation from the NCAT to not implement the enhance community team model at this time. This is due to a lack of support from local stakeholders - in particular the local GPs.”

She thanked nursing and therapy staff for their willingness to try new ways of working and hoped the emerging GP commissioning consortia would consider the model in the future.