Questions on hospital plan for York link

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CALLS have been made to put patients first following the news that Scarborough Hospital boss Richard Sunley is stepping down as a merger with York looms closer.

Scarborough’s MP Robert Goodwill said that the trust has experienced a “revolving door” situation with chief executives over the past few years, and made an appeal for continuity.

Mr Sunley, who will start a new role at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust on March 7, is Scarborough’s fifth boss in seven years.

He will be replaced by Mike Proctor, who is currently deputy chief executive at York trust and will become acting head of the Scarborough board.

Mr Goodwill said: “This has not been good for the trust – the situation has not given people time to get to grips with the issues surrounding it.”

He added that he is not against a link-up with York in principle, but believes there needs to be a proper consultation with a chance for people to give their views for and against.

This was echoed by Leo McGrory, chairman of the Scarborough branch of the Local Involvement Networks (LINks) which aim to give people a voice about healthcare.

He said: “I think this is the first of several management changes to come. I just hope it doesn’t lead to a run-down in trust staffing.

“The link with York has been moving with surprising haste and it looks like all they’re doing now is dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. We need to be careful that public engagement happens at a service level and that Scarborough will be strongly represented by governors in the foundation trust.”

Mr Goodwill said he feels that there is a sense that people are “powerless” to influence what is happening.

He said: “It seems like there is no real democratic accountability. These people are making decisions without any real recourse.

“There may be some advantages of a closer relationship with York, but we need to know what these are and have them laid out before us. At the moment we don’t really know what’s on offer.”

Mr McGrory said: “The speed is alarming in one way but could be constructive in another. We just need to make sure Scarborough has proper representation and that we end up with a top-class medical centre at the end of the process.”

He has organised a public meeting at Scarborough Library on March 16 at 6.30pm. Attendees will include York’s chief executive Patrick Crowley who will be taking questions.