A united fight over hos­pi­tal cut­backs

The Scarborough News - - FRONT PAGE - by Martina Moscariello martina.moscariello@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: m__­moscariello

Anger and con­cern over any po­ten­tial cut­backs to Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal ser­vices is grow­ing, with al­most 25,000 peo­ple sign­ing an on­line pe­ti­tion.

The Scar­bor­ough pub­lic and health sec­tor work­ers are show­ing the strength of their con­cern at the fu­ture of Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal, with a pe­ti­tion op­pos­ing cut­backs near­ing 25,000 sig­na­tures. A week on af­ter two pub­lic meet­ings at Scar­bor­ough’s Royal Ho­tel and the re­as­sur­ance of hos­pi­tal bosses over their com­mit­ment to pro­tect­ing key ser­vices, peo­ple in town are still fight­ing to safe­guard their lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

A pe­ti­tion started 10 days ago to ob­ject to po­ten­tial cuts to ser­vices and depart­ments is at­tract­ing sup­port by the day, with 24,600 peo­ple hav­ing signed the on­line doc­u­ment.

The “Save Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal” Face­book group, only set up at the start of last week, is see­ing the num­ber of peo­ple join­ing spi­ral.

John Wade, for­mer di­rec­tor of the old Scar­bor­ough Trust as well as ad­min of the Face­book group, said: “We have re­ceived 100% sup­port, peo­ple are so grate­ful. We’ve not re­ceived a sin­gle word of crit­i­cism. I’ve been ap­proached by so many hos­pi­tal staff who are too afraid to com­ment, telling us that we have their sup­port.

“For me it’s quite sim­ple, if you want to ad­ver­tise pub­lic meet­ings you tell the me­dia. But they didn’t do that un­til five days be­fore the con­sul­ta­tion. In­stead they pub­li­cised them on The Loop, a CCG [Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group] on­line in­for­ma­tion bul­letin that un­less peo­ple know what it is and fol­low it you wouldn’t know about.

“In my view this is only an ex­er­cise to tick the boxes of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

“That’s how they got away with it in the past, be­cause peo­ple didn’t know these things un­til it was too late.”

Although Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mike Proctor as­sured that the fu­ture of Scar­bor­ough’s A&E and all its back-up ser­vices, Mr Wane is scep­ti­cal.

He added: “I don’t be­lieve any­thing that Mr Proctor says, all his prom­ises are not worth any­thing.

“We’ve been ac­cused of scare­mon­ger­ing and talk­ing non­sense but we’re ac­tu­ally work­ing to put to­gether a list of all ser­vices that have been cut, al­tered or trans­ferred over the years.

“This way peo­ple will un­der­stand the as­set-strip­ping that’s been go­ing on to the ben­e­fits of the peo­ple in York.”

Labour’s Par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for Scar­bor­ough and Whitby has also com­mented on the re­cent re­view, say­ing that any down­grad­ing of ser­vices at Scar­bor­ough would be “dis­as­trous”.

Hugo Fearn­ley said: “In many ways, this is­sue is out­side of nar­row po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions and as some­one who has lived here all my life, I share peo­ple’s con­cerns and want to make sure there is the high­qual­ity health­care ser­vices avail­able for every­one.

“While we don’t know when the ac­tual pro­pos­als will be avail­able, or what they will look like, we must be sure that we are ready to stand up, scru­ti­nise the plans and ar­gue our case, as a united com­mu­nity.”

Con­cern­ing the union Unite is the “lack of mean­in­ful lead­er­ship” at the Trust.

Chris Daly, Unite re­gional of­fi­cer, said: “We’re ob­vi­ously con­cerned about the re­sult of the re­view, es­pe­cially given the fact that Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mike Proctor is in this po­si­tion tem­po­rar­ily.

“They haven’t de­fined what changes they’re go­ing to make so it’s a bit like ‘watch this space’ which is why peo­ple are wor­ried.”

In­flu­en­tial busi­ness group the Scar­bor­ough Am­bas­sadors have writ­ten to the health trust out­lin­ing their con­cerns at any pos­si­ble cut­backs to Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal ser­vices.

In a let­ter, chair­man Pe­ter Wilkin­son fears the travel time to York could lead to loss of lives, and calls for con­fir­ma­tion that no ser­vices will be re­duced, adding: “We can­not stand back and watch the den­i­gra­tion of our ser­vices.” You can see the full let­ter on our web­site.

Re the re­view of acute ser­vices at Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal: The pub­lic meet­ings and the man­ner in which they were con­ducted have only served to re­in­force con­cerns about the fu­ture in­tegrity of a hos­pi­tal which has al­ready lost a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant clin­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties.

The pre­sen­ta­tions spoke of the ben­e­fits of changes geared to­wards “sus­tain­abil­ity” and “cen­tral­i­sa­tion”, and con­trary to how the sce­nario is now be­ing por­trayed by York Teach­ing Hos­pi­tal NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, the Scar­bor­ough and Ryedale Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group and East Rid­ing CCG, work­ing un­der the aus­pices of the Hum­ber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Part­ner­ship. A united Scar­bor­ough, with the pub­lic, health em­ploy­ees, or­gan­i­sa­tional, busi­ness and lo­cal au­thor­ity sec­tors, is the only means of en­sur­ing that the re­view does not lead to a York-cen­tric out­come and a down­grade of lo­cal ser­vices. A num­ber of ex­pe­ri­enced and re­spected se­nior med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als fa­mil­iar with Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal have flagged up con­cerns – and the pub­lic re­spects their judge­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence. In ad­di­tion to our ge­og­ra­phy and the se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for trans­port and trav­el­ling times for Scar­bor­ough, Whitby and Bridling­ton peo­ple, 30,000 new homes are ear­marked for the bor­ough over com­ing years. Scar­bor­ough’s in­dus­trial and busi­ness base is also ex­pand­ing, with Sir­ius Min­er­als in­vest­ing bil­lions of pounds in de­vel­op­ing the new potash mine in the bor­ough, McCain Foods in­vest­ing more than £100m in its Scar­bor­ough plant, and there are 11 ma­jor en­gi­neer­ing ex­porters. There are also plans for a ma­jor off­shore wind­farm off the York­shire coast and Scar­bor­ough Busi­ness Park ex­pan­sion plans – all strongly re­in­forc­ing the ab­so­lute need to main­tain, pro­tect and per­haps grow Scar­bor­ough health ser­vices. There are is­sues of lo­cal re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion which have been ex­ac­er­bated

BUSI­NESS AM­BAS­SADORS ‘The meet­ings have only served to re­in­force con­cerns’

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