A staff member has accused health bosses of having already decided to close Bridlington Hospital’s Macmillan ward – despite there being an ongoing public consultation.
Losing the ward would mean patients could no longer choose to die in their home town, the worker has said.
Their claim comes amid a 12-week consultation to gather views from the public on the proposed shake-up of health care in Bridlington, including the Macmillan ward, which provides palliative care to dying patients.
The staff member said: “A decision has been made without listening to the public or staff despite the CCG being here to provide the best health care for local needs.
“Macmillan is vital to Bridlington. There is a high rate of elderly people here who rely on this service. The closure of the ward will leave these people vulnerable and isolates them from family and friends.”
The ongoing consultation has four choices for the future of community beds, but East Riding of Yorkshire CCG wants them to be based at Beverley Hospital.
The first is to create two Urgent Care Centres at Beverley and Goole, and the second is to create two of the centres at Beverley and Bridlington.
The third is to create three centres at Beverley, Bridlington and Goole. And the fourth is to create two Urgent Care Centres at Bridlington and Goole.
The CCG said Bridlington cannot accommodate 30 beds and it wants services on one site. Increasing the number of beds from 12 at Bridlington would also mean additional lease costs.
The staff member said: “Many people chose to come to Macmillan ward to spend their remaining days. People from Bridlington do not want to go to Beverley, Hull or York.
“Despite having only 12 beds, we have a high turnover of patients. Beverley has 30 beds but we actually take on as many patients as them if not more.
“We have been kept in the dark for the majority of what has gone on. We got told about the consultation the same time as leaflets were distributed. We feel very undervalued.”
Humber NHS Foundation Trust has now also been unsuccessful in continuing the community services contract. The Trust has been said to have been outbid by private company City Health Trust - meaning staff on Macmillan ward will no longer be working for the NHS.
The source said: “We have been told our jobs are safe. However staff will no longer be members of the NHS pension scheme. We will also lose our extra pay for working in unsociable hours.
“We at Macmillan are known for being a welcoming team and we get a lot of positive feedback for the work we do. The ward is fit for purpose and it is such a shame we are now in this situation. Bridlington Hospital is fit for purpose but services are vacating it at an alarming rate.”
Officials insist a bed audit has shown fewer than 25 per cent of patients at the Macmillan unit actually needed medical input and a further 50 per cent of patients would experience better quality of care by being offered nursing and therapy care at their own home.
The nurse also told the Free Press that staff have already been looking elsewhere for employment.
“Many of the staff live in the Bridlington area and do not want to travel elsewhere for work everyday,” the source said.
“The proposals are not to up the quantity of beds elsewhere, just to change the use of beds meaning they will not need as many staff there.
“This then proves a problem with any of our team moving to Beverley or anywhere else because they already have staff so it makes you think will we be needed?”
The mayor of Bridlington, Cllr Liam Dealtry, said the CCG should “hang their heads in shame” if a decision has already been made.
He said: “We all need to be worried and that trust needs to be addressed because it’s got to go to the public first.
“If they are making a decision before the consultation has ended, then that’s wrong. If they have made a decision, then that’s disgusting. They all need to hand their heads in shame, if it’s true.
“The NHS in this area has a total disregard for the people of Bridlington and its surrounding areas.”
A spokesman for ERCCG told the Free Press: “We are currently in the middle of a 12-week formal consultation about improving urgent care services in the East Riding of Yorkshire and our plans are still at a formative stage.
“The consultation will run until January 17 2017.
“We are consulting on changes to community bed provision in the East Riding with options to move to more rehabilitation and reablement services, helping people get home much quicker and return to independence.
“We have asked out providers of these services to keep staff informed and encourage them to have their say. All of the views and comments received during the consultation will be taken into consideration before a final decision is made in March 2017.”