Changes to oncology services mean more trips to Castle Hill Hospital for Scarborough and Bridlington patients
Hundreds of cancer patients in Scarborough will have to face an 80-mile round trip to access their first appointment.
Changes to oncology services, brought forward by a number of NHS trusts and CCGs in North and East Yorkshire, will see all first outpatient appointments for new patients take place at Queen’s Centre, Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham rather than locally.
From today (January 27), patients suffering from gynaecological or renal cancers will also have to travel to Castle Hill Hospital for all face to face outpatient appointments, including chemotherapy.
According to Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, "workforce pressures and recruitment difficulties" are to blame.
A report outlining the changes reads: "Despite every effort to maintain the current mode of consultant-led care, the situation is worsening and now requires an alternative model to be urgently implemented in conjunction with all stakeholders."
According to the report, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which provides oncology services in Scarborough and Bridlington on behalf of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, "has advertised on numerous occasions over the past 18 months, for both substantive and locum staff, with limited success". The trust has also experienced "a higher than average level of sickness absence" within its workforce.
The report adds: "In order to maintain services with the current numbers of consultants it is necessary to consolidate the majority of consultant time within the Queen’s Centre at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham. This will reduce the time spent travelling by consultants and ensure that the maximum amount of patient care is obtained from the limited consultant resource."
Consultant oncologist presence at Scarborough Hospital will continue for one day per month. In Bridlington, the medical oncology service currently available one day per fortnight will be withdrawn.
Chemotherapy will continue to be delivered at both Scarborough and Bridlington hospitals for all patients excluding those with gynaecological or renal cancers.
Over the next 12 months, 317 patients are expected to be affected by the changes in Scarborough. Of these, 47 have gynaecological or renal cancers.
In Bridlington, the total of those affected within a year will be 149, 15 of whom with gynaecological or renal cancers.
A review of the changes, which are said to be temporary, will be led by the Humber Cancer Board in three months' time.