East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight is ‘very concerned’ that some unelected health officials seem ‘hellbent on stripping services from smaller local hospitals’.
Greg says: “These changes cannot be driven by a lack of money as the NHS is receiving a record £124bn this year with a further £8bn planned in the next 5 years. Further, health managers themselves admit that the changes at Driffield Hospital have nothing to do with saving cash. It is a pity then that they did not listen to members of the public who made it quite clear that they did not support their proposed changes.
So far as Bridlington Hospital is concerned, it is a grossly underused NHS resource and I find it incredible that a ward closure is now proposed whilst over at Scarborough Hospital people are working out of porta-cabins.
I am therefore meeting the Chief Executive of the Trust responsible early in the New Year to discuss this worrying situation in further detail.
And that is why I have also raised my concerns in the House of Commons with the Health Secretary.
House of Commons Official Record 19th December 2018
Sir Greg Knight MP
Does my right hon. Friend not think it is unfortunate that, at a time when GP services are being sustained, local hospital services in some areas are being reduced? Does he share my concern that some NHS trust managers and clinical commissioning groups seem hellbent on removing valued local services from our smaller hospitals, such as at Driffield and at Bridlington in my constituency?
Jeremy Hunt MP
My right hon. Friend has talked to me extensively about this in private, and I fully understand his concerns. The Government are increasing funding to the NHS, which involves extra money going both to out-of-hospital services, such as general practice, and to hospital services. We expect all areas of the country to find sensible ways for those two sectors to work together.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight and Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart have expressed ‘concern and dismay’ at the decision by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel to rubber stamp East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (ERYCCG) plans to close the Minor Injuries Units at the Alfred Bean Hospital in Driffield and Hornsea Cottage Hospital and service cutbacks s at Withernsea Hospital.
Sir Greg and Graham paid tribute to local residents who had campaigned tirelessly against the closures. Thousands of people signed petitions, hundreds of people attended public rallies, local GPs expressed opposition as did East Riding of Yorkshire Council and town and parish councils.
Graham and Sir Greg have had an urgent meeting with Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer of the CCG. They urged, on behalf of their constituents, that the CCG reflects again on the public consultation it carried out and reminded her it is not too late to reverse these ill-founded plans. Ms Hawkard said that the CCG would ‘reflect on the position’ before confirming any changes.
Bridlington’s MP Sir Greg Knight said he was seeking ‘further information’ from the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust who have decided to temporarily close Waters Ward at Bridlington Hospital.
Sir Greg said: “If this closure is truly of a temporary nature due to recruitment pressures then this is disappointing. However I am concerned to see that this is not an excuse to permanently remove staff and close the ward.
He added: “I am extremely dissatisfied that the Trust has not been in contact with me to explain or justify what they are doing before now and I am urgently seeking reassurances that this ward will re-open as soon as possible”.
East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight has called on the East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who are looking at removing some services from Bridlington and Driffield Hospitals, to abandon their plans in the face of massive public opposition.
The CCG is consulting on re-configuring some healthcare services in East Yorkshire which they claim is aimed at rationalising services, not cutting costs.
Sir Greg said: “I have not come across one person who is in favour of these cuts to services. They are, quite frankly, not desirable or wanted”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Greg criticised the lack of accountability the CCG has to the public and said the CCG seemed “hell-bent on these cuts despite overwhelming public opposition”. Replying, the Leader of the House of Commons, David Liddington MP said he would pass on Sir Greg’s concerns to the Health Secretary.
Sir Greg said: “The CCG should not ride roughshod over the views of the very people who are dependent on these health services and who pay for them through their taxes’.
A final decision on the matter is expected by the CCG next month.