Councillors reveal concerns over how patients and visitors will get to hospitals

East Riding councillors have spoken of their concerns over how patients and visitors will get to hospitals under centralisation plans as backlogs and staffing issues persist.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 2:00 pm
Councillors heard the plans, being drawn up since 2018, were so far looking at how services in Bridlington and Scarborough could continue long term.

Councillors heard the East Coast Services Transformation Plan could see more tests done locally while some more complex procedures are concentrated in larger hospitals.

But Simon Cox, of the NHS’ North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) told the Health, Care and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee recruiting staff to the coast remained a challenge.

Mr Cox added NHS services also faced mounting backlogs for procedures due to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly for routine ones such as joint replacements.

It comes as the North and East Yorkshire CCGs continue to draw up plans for changes to services on the coast.

Councillors heard the plans, being drawn up since 2018, were so far looking at how services in Bridlington and Scarborough could continue long term.

The committee heard the NHS was looking at more apprenticeships to train nurses locally, with the first cohort of staff trained in Scarborough in 20 years due to start work.

Tracey Craggs, of the East Yorkshire CCG, told the committee there were no immediate plans to change provision offered at Driffield, Withernsea and Hornsea but added that could change.

Mr Cox said while the NHS was looking at doing tests such as x-rays more locally, including out of hospitals, it had to prioritise patient outcomes in treatment.

He added that meant specialist practitioners could be expected to travel between hospitals more, having nurses do more consultation work but also basing services including stroke care in bigger hospitals.

Mr Cox also said the NHS would have to look more at transport for patients and for relatives and other visitors as some services move away from local areas.

The NHS official said: “There will need to be hospital based services focusing on sustained models of care.

“There’s a major focus on how we can improve health outcomes and address inequalities as well as looking at the wider determinants of health.

“We’re seeing in more complex areas such as stroke care patients needing to access services in different sites.

“It means some patients will have to travel a bit, that will be a challenge for them and their relatives and more work is needed on helping them to get there but it would be a mistake to provide a wider range of services locally with worse outcomes.

“Waiting lists and times have grown significantly in the last 12 months, some patients have been waiting a considerable amount of time and staffing remains a challenge.”

Committee member Cllr Barbara Jefferson said she was concerned the plans could see more services provided out of Scarborough at the expense of other areas.

The councillor said: “Scarborough is not the whole of the coast, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much in other places at all.”

Committee member Cllr Mike Heslop-Mullens said: “Transport services are very restrictive in who they can take.

“Looking at stroke rehabilitation in Bridlington, administratively, financially and clinically it makes sense, but if someone lives 18 miles away from their family they’ve got to visit them.

“We know visits from family helps with the rehabilitation process.”

Cllr David Boynton said: “I’ve heard for a number of years that staffing has been an issue, it’s good to hear that more staff are being trained locally now.

“You don’t need to promote an area to people to relocate to if you have locally trained people here.”