MP calls in health minister over plan

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WHITBY’S MP has drafted the health minister in to help stop the progression of ideas that would lead to the closure of Whitby Hospital’s minor injuries unit.

Robert Goodwill, MP for Whitby and Scarborough met with the health minister Jeremy Hunt after a parliamentary session on Monday.

He told the Secretary of State for Health about the leaked proposals suggesting Whitby Hospital’s minor injuries service closes and the A&E department at Scarborough Hospital be closed at night.

Mr Goodwill told the Gazette: “I briefed Jeremy Hunt about it and he is now aware of the situation.

“I suspect that he will understand that some of the suggestions made by these accountants are not acceptable to either patients or doctors.”

His own stance on the suggestions made by consultants acting for the Primary Care Trust, which itself is set to be disbanded next year anyway, is one of fierce opposition.

He said he was sure doctors wouldn’t back the ideas being put forward by national firm KPMG and expressed disappointment that he had only found out about the ideas on the table as a result of them being leaked.

He said: “I have made my feelings absolutely clear, it is not acceptable to not have 24 hour A&E at Scarborough Hospital and we do not want to have any changes at Whitby that would compromise patient safety.”

At the moment, Whitby Hospital’s minor injury unit is open until around 11pm but it has been said it is uneconomical to have it open across 24 hours. However, Mr Goodwill said that actually makes the 24 hour A&E provision in Scarborough even more vital.

Otherwise, he said, patients would be travelling up to 50 miles for emergency care and the A&E is very busy at night with a range of incidents from drunks on a Friday night, to people having heart attacks or road accident victims.

He added: “I have used the phrase ‘over my dead body’ will the A&E close and they need to be aware that if the health bureaucrats want to save money by doing that, they are going to have a fight on their hands.”