Whitby patients face 40-mile round trips as deal yet to be agreed for new hospital service provider

Whitby hosptial.
Whitby hosptial.

Patients at Whitby hospital face at least 40-mile round trips for routine appointments after the axing of a number of clinics at the town’s hospital.

York Hospital trust announced in December the decision to withdraw outpatient care, and although the Whitby Clinical Commisioning Group has conducted talks to replace the services, no deal has been agreed to date.

Locals will now be forced to travel to Scarborough or Middlesbrough for consultant-led outpatient care, until a new deal is agreed.

Officials have been holding talks with the Middlesbrough-based South Tees NHS trust to take over running the services in the town but no agreement has been reached.

In a statement, NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group confirmed some patients from Whitby would need to travel to Scarborough Hospital or James Cook Hospital from May 21 “until we have agreed an alternative solution.”

Chief officer Janet Probert said: “For those services currently provided by York and following discussions with local GPs, we are looking at alternative providers to deliver these services at Whitby hospital.”

Clinics provided by practitioners from other organisations at the hospital will continue at Whitby and are unaffected by the changes.

Chiefs at York Hospital NHS trust announced last year that they were serving notice on their contract to provide outpatient care at Whitby after it was revealed they were losing more than £500,000 a year on the deal.

Clinicians run nearly 600 clinics each year at the town’s hospital across 13 specialties including elderly medicine, orthopaedics, obstetrics, paediatrics, eye services and physiotherapy.

Figures for 2017-18 reveal the trust is running a deficit of around £21m - £14.5m worse than expected.