Hundreds of signatures demanding the protection of hospital services in Scarborough have been presented to health bosses.
The Scarborough News met with Dr Phil Garnett, clinical director of Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group, to share your concerns about the future of key services, including A&E and maternity provision.
He said: “We have absolutely no intention of closing A&E and maternity services in Scarborough, 24/7. I can categorically state that.”
However, Dr Garnett explained that as North Yorkshire is facing a debt of £19m, with the Scarborough and Ryedale group’s share of the debt at around £2.4m, savings must be made somewhere.
He said: “My job as chairman of the governing body is to make sure we’re not in this position again next year.
“But what we’re trying to do is improve services. I believe you can reduce cost and improve the quality of services at the same time.
“I’m very optimistic about the future. It’s going to be difficult, but I am optimistic.”
When asked about other services, for example stroke care and paediatrics, Dr Garnett explained that the National Guidance around certain specialist areas is becoming more prescriptive.
He said: “We are going to review these services - it would be wrong not to - but it doesn’t mean we’re closing them.
“I’m quite openly parochial and protective about Scarborough Hospital. There may be a reconfiguration of these services, but it doesn’t mean we’re stopping them.
“Our responsibility is to provide them in the most effective way.”
Dr Garnett added that the key message to get across to patients is that there will not be any significant changes made to service provision without consultation.
He said the two core principles as far as he is concerned are quality improvement and a patient focus.
Dr Garnett explained that the next stage will be on January 22, when a short list of recommendations is presented to the primary care trust.
The primary care trust have thanked patients for their feedback and involvement so far and is encouraging them to keep making their voices heard.
Over 130 surveys were completed by local residents at a number of drop-in events and online at www.scarboroughryedaleccg.nhs.uk.
Andy Hudson, the governing body’s lay member and lead for patient involvement, said: “It was encouraging to see such a high level of interest from local people and it’s clear that residents feel very strongly about their local NHS.
“Encouragingly, early analysis of the survey results suggests that people are very supportive of the health priorities we have identified as part of our strategy, which include early detection of cancer, cardiovascular care, mental health and caring for the elderly.”
Local councillors are also set to send a cross-party delegation to speak to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, following an emergency meeting at the Town Hall.
• Scarborough LINK is holding a public meeting on January 11, 6pm, at Scarborough Library. Speakers include health bosses Simon Cox and Mike Proctor, plus MP Robert Goodwill.