Heart attack victims hit by clinic move

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ANOTHER Whitby Hospital clinic has relocated to Scarborough, and this time it’s heart attack victims who are being forced to make the trip.

Whitby’s pacemaker clinic has moved to Scarborough, leaving residents thinking “here we go again”.

Alison Baker (81), of Cherry Close, struggles to get out of her chair, let alone get to the hospital, and she is completely reliant on husband Bill.

She regularly visits Whitby Hospital for check-ups, but with the relocation of the clinic a half hour appointment has turned into a half day trip.

Mrs Baker said: “They say it’s because they have to have a heart surgeon there.

“I go for a pacemaker check every six months but I also go for paediatric sessions every three months and I go for eye testing for diabetes once a year.

“The worry is they are going to be changed as well because they are taking all these appointments away from Whitby and sending us to Scarborough.”

Stephanie Walker, Scarborough NHS Trust cardio respiratory manager, said: “Following a review of our cardio respiratory services, and in line with all other hospital trusts, all pacemaker follow-up appointments will now take place at Scarborough Hospital.

“This decision was made on the grounds of patient safety and in adherence to national guidelines (HRUK).

“Patient safety is our top priority and it is important that this procedure, which in most cases needs to be carried out once a year, takes place in a hospital environment where there is consultant cardiology support.

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“We have communicated these changes to our patients and have been working closely with them to not only ensure that their appointment is at a convenient time but that transport is provided.”

For the check two technicians attend to Mrs Baker and fit her with electrodes which measure the battery strength of her pacemaker.

There are no injections or invasive procedures and she is physically in the same state she is in when she is sat at home, but the hospital say they will only look after her if there is a dedicated heart surgeon on the site, so a trip to Scarborough must be made.

The NHS trust have offered Mrs Baker free transport to her appointments, but due to her fragile state Mrs Baker is very nervous travelling in vehicles and is worried how the journey will affect her health.

Husband Bill said: “They are supposed to be moving things back into the hospital but there’s this drip, drip, drip and they will say ‘well there’s nothing going on in Whitby Hospital, what are they keeping it for?’ and then it’ll close.

“Is it easier for 20 elderly people to go to Scarborough, or two technicians to come to Whitby for one day?”

MP Robert Goodwill once promised he’d rather “die in a ditch” than allow Whitby Hospital to close and Pat Cousins, of Whitby Hospital Action Group, said she intended to bring this situation to his attention when she meets him on Friday (13 May).

Mrs Cousins said: “My first impression was ‘here we go again’.

“I thought we were supposed to be pulling all these services back into Whitby?”