Doctors back case for Whitby hospital

LOCAL GPs have started compiling a dossier of the services they think the population of Whitby needs in the town’s hospital.

It is expected that a plan, which should shape the case for the future of Whitby Hospital, could be presented to the public by the end of the year, but it is still unclear whether these services will be delivered in the current hospital at Spring Hill or at a modern new build elsewhere within the town.

Doctors from the Whitby locality - who make up the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) - will spend until June researching the health issues and needs in the town, also taking into account the heightened population during the summer months.

The work is being done as part of a revolution of healthcare across the county which sees CCGs take over from primary care trusts in determining what health services are provided and where.

In Whitby it is believed services are going to be based around the needs of the elderly, diagnosis and physiotherapy as well as social care.

The CCG held a public meeting in Whitby last week outlining its vision for the future. It envisages major surgery and serious conditions being dealt with at specialist hospitals such as James Cook and people returning home to recover with the help of district nursing teams. Where coming home is not possible rehabilitation would be in community hospitals like Whitby.

Dr Vicky Pleydell, leading the CCG, said: “For a rural area we see a lot of health care disappearing into hospitals a long way away and that worries us.

“But, if I had a heart attack I would want to be in James Cook where I had the right team around me and I would want to be sure that I could quickly come home. People should go for the least time and then they come home.”

She added she understood the frustrations of local people so the CCG was keen to come up with a plan to consult the public with.

Dr Pleydell said: “I know that we need, very quickly, to move to a plan we can formally consult on about the future of Whitby. People have had all this going on for so long and need some clarity.

“I absolutely understand people’s frustrations and we are really keen that we get on with it, get a solution that we take to the public.”

Dr George Campbell from Whitby Group Practice added that while the CCG could decide what services are available in Whitby, the CCG couldn’t determine the future of the current Spring Hill building because that is managed by York NHS Foundation Trust.

He added: “All we can do is give a commitment that we will commission hospital based services to Whitby. I can’t tell you about rebuilds, we don’t physically own the building.

“We are not saying we don’t want there to be a Whitby hospital but the objective of healthcare is to get you home and into the community but quite clearly if you need to be in hospital, you need to be in hospital.”