A £12 million part demolition and refurbishment to safeguard the long-term future of the struggling Whitby Hospital has been given the green light.
The plans were approved by Scarborough Borough Council’s planning committee this afternoon, the same week the trust running the hospital was forced to close its minor injury unit (MIU) early on nights due to staffing issues.
NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with partner organisations on the planning process of the project for more than a year.
The hospital opened in 1979 but over recent years has seen the number of services on offer slashed.
According to the applicant, just 24 of 102 beds are in use on the site.
Under the changes, the site would be “modernised to provide 21st Century healthcare accommodation for 19 inpatient beds.”
An extra-care facility is proposed on the part of the hospital site that would be demolished, though no plans have yet been submitted at this stage.
In a report which went before the planning committee the authorities planning officer David Walker stated that: “The application in effect divides the site into two.
“The NHS would retain 0.85ha on the western part of the site, where the tower element would be retained and modified to provide a continuation of
existing services from a reconfigured hospital.
“On the eastern and central part of the site all buildings would be demolished.”
Last week, Whitby Hospital was forced to close its Minor Injuries Unit early for two nights running for what it called “unplanned issues.”
This week, it was forced to close the unit indefinitely.
In a statement, the trust said: “Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust and partners are working hard to resolve the short-term staffing issue.
“The evening session between 8pm and 11pm is the least busy period for the MIU, with usually less than three people per evening attending.
“By temporarily reducing the opening times during the evening, we can ensure the MIU is fully operational for its busiest times of the day.
“We would like to thank our staff for their continued hard work. We would also like to thank the public for their understanding and for following the after hours contingency plan.”
There is no accident and emergency service offered at the hospital, with patients having to travel to Scarborough or Middlesbrough to be seen.