A HEALTH campaigner is embarking on another battle to save services at Bridlington Hospital.
The Free Press revealed last week that the Humber Foundation Trust was considering redundancies at Bridlington, and that question marks hung over the future of Buckrose Ward.
Now Flamborough parish councillor May Sexton is launching a campaign to protect the ward and staff.
In a letter she is asking concerned residents to sign and send to Bridlington MP Greg Knight, May said: “I am very concerned at recent information regarding proposed changes.
“It would appear that the previous rumours relating to the closure of Buckrose Ward may now be coming to fruition, irrespective of the enormous expenditure in the original creation of the ward into a safe haven.”
Mrs Sexton said hundreds of thousands of pounds had been spent on the ward, and she hopes Mr Knight will pass on the concerns to the Secretary of State.
She continued: “As I understand it Buckrose Ward is always working at full capacity, doesn’t that tell its own story, and that there is need for it in this area?
“It is understood that those patients requiring hospitalisation will be taken to Hull, miles away from friends and family and at a time when family support is so vital.
“This is the type of wastage which the public, especially our local community, becomes so angry about.”
Coun Sexton continued “I also understand proposals are afoot to dispense with the Occupational Therapy Department in its present form, and its senior leading members of staff be made redundant.
“It is envisaged that a depleted Occupation Therapy Department will take over part of the Buckrose Ward adjoining the 136 Suite to provide it with office accommodation.
“I honestly cannot imagine the outcry from the community if such proposals go ahead. It is sacrilege if such a blatant waste of public money is allowed to happen.”
Mr Knight MP said: “My personal view on Bridlington Hospital is that it’s a site that needs to be used more, not mothballed. I will support any campaign to keep services at Bridlington Hospital.
“Everyone that uses Bridlington Hospital says that it is underused, but that Scarborough is stretched and it is, quite frankly, an unpleasant experience to visit at times.
“I thought that 18 months ago we had an agreement with NHS trusts that services remained. The fact that services are being reviewed is misguided.
“I would encourage people to write to me with their concerns and I will be making representations to the trust.”
Last week Humber NHS Foundation Trust confirmed it was not planning to close the occupational therapy service at Bridlington Hospital, but that staff numbers may be reduced in a round of redundancies which could see up to 30 people lose their jobs across the area.
But question marks remained over the future of the hospital’s 16-bed Buckrose Ward, which treats patients with mental health issues, after a spokesperson said the trust was “considering the future use of all its estate, including Buckrose”.
Regional officer for Unite the union, Dave Monaghan, said: “Union activists are concerned about the rumours - and I must repeat rumours - about staff being moved from the occupational therapy department, and people are worried about Buckrose ward’s future.
“I have written to the chief executive of the trust and asked him to state categorically whether or not these rumours are true.”
Copies of Coun Sexton’s letter are available at the Free Press office on Prospect Street.