Hospital chief reassures over cuts fears

York Hospital.
York Hospital.

AN NHS chief executive has reassured the public the A&E deptartment at Scarborough Hospital will continue to provide a service.

The statement from Christopher Long, chief executive of NHS North Yorkshire and York, dispells fears sparked last week by a leaked money saving report which implied the A&E deparment at Scarborough hospital would close during the night.

A meeting of NHS leaders from across the county was held on Thursday November 30 in which it was decided to clarify issues sparked by the leaked report.

Mr Long said the leaders of NHS organisations in North Yorkshire and York had commissioned management consultants KPMG to help them develop a long-term strategy to save money in the health economy.

He said: “That strategy is currently in development and some details of early stage discussions have recently been made public.”

Last week saw the leaked report ignite public fears over the night-time closure of Scarborough A&E, along with a reduction in bed space, a reduction in maternity care and the relocation of inpatient paediatric care and emergency general surgery to York.

Mr Long said: “As part of this long term strategy, we are not planning to close any district general hospitals and we will not be proposing to move to a single maternity and paediatric unit for North Yorkshire.

“Importantly, there will be a continued provision of A&E and maternity services in Scarborough.”

However he identified a need to reduce the need for hosptial admissions and said: “We will be looking to change how we use our community hospitals and how we use community health services most effectively - helping patients remain in their own homes.

“This strategy will, over time, enable a reduction in the number of beds within our acute hospitals in line with demand and will therefore improve the environment and the quality of care for our most acutely ill patients.

“I want to be very clear that should any of the suggestions require significant service change then the organisations involved are committed to formally engage and consult with patients, the public and all relevant partners,” said Mr Long.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust also stated there is a sufficent ambulance resources for the area.

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said: “Following a call for ambulance assistance, staff in our Emergency Operations Centre dispatch the nearest available resource to the incident.

“As a regional service we also have the flexibility to move crews at any time to different areas to ensure they are sufficiently resourced.

“Ambulance resources are dynamically moved around the patch to provide optimum cover.”

A shortlist of refined options to help save money is intended to be published and discussed at NHS North Yorkshire and York’s Board on 22 January 2013.