BRIDLINGTON Hospital is not closing or being run down – that was the message from Mike Proctor, deputy chief executive of the York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust (YTHFT), as he addressed a public meeting held at the Spa Bridlington last week.
Around 50 people gathered to hear how Bridlington and District Hospital was benefiting from the acquisition of Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare Trust (SNEY), with £750,000 having been spent on new facilities including a state-of-the-art theatre and overnight ward to allow elective surgery to take place at Bridlington.
The meeting heard how the hospital’s future was now looking secure against a backdrop of great change within the NHS.
“The NHS is in a state of flux. It’s the biggest reorganisation I have ever experienced and at the moment no-one can be sure how it’s going to work out.
“My job is to try and get the best out of whatever we finish up with in terms of organisation to deliver the best we can for the local population,” he said.
Mr Proctor also addressed previous concerns aired about the hospital being left without a full-time manager since Matthew Groom’s tenure came to an end.
He confirmed that a permanent manager will be recruited and in the interim Norman Brady had moved from Malton Hospital to take up the post temporarily. “We do recognise the need for a full-time manager at Bridlington Hospital. Matthew Groom was only ever a stop-gap. He’s a higher grade of manager. This week someone else has been put in place,” Mr Proctor said.
“It’s not a permanent fixture, we have got to reduce our management overhead, we have got to save probably about £1m of management costs because if we don’t we will have to take that at clinical services,” he added. Since the acquisition, clinics staffed by York consultants and mobile services have been introduced.
Patient areas have also been improved, with new beds and lockers, a specialist chair to allow wheelchair users to receive dental care and improved signage, as well as a new appointment booking system.
Structural repairs have been carried out to improve the environment and reduce heating bills with repairs to the roof having now been completed. Mr Proctor made it clear that while, following many years of neglect, Bridlington and Scarborough Hospitals were getting the attention they deserve, it was not affordable to make all the improvements immediately, but they would continue on a rolling programme.
He said some of the planned improvements at Bridlington had been delayed as more pressing work was needed at Scarborough, including the replacement of the pre-NHS Nightingale wards. Mr Proctor asked that residents be patient, assuring them that Bridlington had not been forgotten but rather work at Scarborough had been given a higher priority due to extreme need.
Jean Wormwell, of Pensioners Action Group East Riding, asked why work had not yet started on a new reception area for the hospital, as previously promised.
Mr Proctor replied that while repairs and general maintenance would be carried out on the area, the major refurbishment would have to wait.
“The outstanding works have been re-prioritised and unfortunately this has dropped on the priority list,” Mr Proctor said.
“It is important to note that capital funds can not be spent on this work; this money is for patients.
“The new reception area at Scarborough was mainly paid for by charitable donations by the WRVS, York’s reception area was funded privately, with the shops being leased out to fund the work.
“What we need is a similar agreement for Bridlington.”
Mr Proctor also quashed rumours that the hospital pharmacy was to close, acknowledging that the Trust was looking for ways to run it more effectively.
Mr Proctor also reported that YTHFT has a new board – two of whom were from the local area – as well as a new board of governors made up of 17 new members, two of whom were elected from Bridlington: Terry Appleton and Jim Carder.