Health trust link under discussion

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SCARBOROUGH Hospital’s future partnership with York came under discussion at a public meeting last night.

The meeting at Scarborough Library attracted around 60 members of the public who were keen to find out more about what the proposed merger will mean for patients.

It was organised by the Scarborough and District Local Involvement Network (LINk) and led by the group’s chairman, Leo McGrory.

The controversial issue of car parking enforcement at Scarborough Hospital was first on the agenda and an update on the situation was given by director of facilities James Hayward.

He said that enforcement of pay and display since February 1 had led to less problems with ambulances and buses not being able to pass through the site.

However, he admitted there had been a number of issues with the two main concerns being a lack of parking spaces and people’s fears over late-running appointments.

One member of the public labelled the scheme a “rip off” and highlighted the issue of potholes in the hospital car park.

Mr Hayward said: “The charges have been in place for about five years, but we have started to enforce them to get control of parking on site for safety reasons, not as an income source.”

He added that work on fixing the potholes will start in the next eight to 10 days.

Mr Hayward also explained that patients whose appointments overrun can ask to be given an explanatory slip from staff, which can then be used to contest a parking ticket if one has been issued.

He said that work is also under way on a possible park and ride scheme for staff and patients using the Seamer Road site.

The possible merger of Scarborough and York trusts was then addressed by York chief executive Patrick Crowley and Scarborough’s new chief executive, Mike Proctor.

Referring back to the last public meeting in November, Mr Crowley said: “Last time there were concerns that services would be centralised in York.

“That is simply an inconceivable idea. York is a good hospital, but it is already too small for the work going on within its buildings.

“Putting patients at the heart of everything we do is the key to developing good health services and it would be remiss of us to centralise services in York.

“We will design services around you and wherever possible they will be provided locally.”

Mr Proctor, who is from a nursing background and has worked in the NHS for 37 years, said was hoping to deliver managerial stability following a period of rapid turnover among Scarborough’s trust board.

He said: “I’m here for the duration, to play a managerial role in the new organisation. I want to nail some of the myths that will emerge around this and deliver better services for people not just in Scarborough but in York as well.”

Mr Proctor explained how there was already greater cooperation happening between consultants in Scarborough and York and that the sharing of expertise would be of benefit to all.

Mr Crowley added that the link-up would also enable Scarborough to attract more top consultants and that one recent recruit had stressed how keen he was to work in both hospitals.

Another public meeting is due to take place in four months’ time.