Health consultation to miss town

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CONSULTATIONS asking for public feedback on the future of health care across North Yorkshire are not coming to Whitby.

The sessions arranged by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) have already taken place in Malton for the Ryedale area, Richmond and Scarborough.

A meeting is planned for Selby today and Harrogate in the new year and feedback will form the basis of a joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) which will be published in June.

NYCC says the JSNA brings together local authorities, the voluntary sector, service users and NHS partners to gather information about current and future health, care and well-being needs.

It also identifies “where support services are not adequate and areas that are doing better or worse than others.”

But Coun Jane Kenyon says while Whitby is covered by the Ryedale district there are people in the town and outlying villages who suffer heavily when the health service fails them but their views won’t be included in the survey if they can’t get to the consultations.

She said: “They have gone district to district, that is how they have done it but it is not my idea of consultation.

“There will be communities within these districts, geographically isolated like Whitby and people in the more rural parts, that are not the main part but have very clear views.

“The record of the PCT is lamentable and the future of our hospital is a matter of grave concern to everybody. I accept that to come to Whitby for a form of consultation would place them in a very uncomfortable position but my answer to that is tough.”

Coun Kenyon said she would raise the fact that Whitby was not chosen as a consultation venue at a later meeting and issued the following message to health bosses.

“You have failed Whitby in terms of its health care provision, the questions posed by users are not answered and you seem unable to accept the fight for Whitby Hospital is on-going.

“They need to come to the community so that they can listen before they start to form the future.”

In a statement NYCC said people can submit views via a form on the council’s website.

Coun Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Services, said: “This is a crucial opportunity for people in North Yorkshire to influence the shape of our future health services and we therefore urge residents to attend these meetings or write to us and let us know what the issues are and what they think our priorities should be.”