A united fight over hospital cutbacks
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’