Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill backs move to send stroke patients directly to York hospital

Scarborough’s MP has backed a move to permanently send stroke patients from the town directly to York Hospital.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 12th July 2021, 10:17 am
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 10:18 am
Scarborough Hospital. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter
Scarborough Hospital. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Robert Goodwill said the proposal from the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was supported by clinical evidence.

The Conservative MP did say, however, that he was concerned about the potential for further cuts to services at Scarborough Hospital which he feared could be made to “save money”.

Since 2015, the vast majority of stroke patients who arrive at Scarborough A&E have been transferred to the regional hyper-acute stroke unit at York Hospital an hour away by road.

Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Patients would first go to Scarborough Hospital for their assessment, CT scan and thrombolysis treatment before going to York in what was termed a “drip and ship” model.

Last year, the decision was taken on safety grounds to change to a direct admission to York model in order to get patients to the hyper-acute unit quicker and the Trust has now signalled that it wants to make the move permanent.

Speaking at a meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s Scarborough and Whitby Area Committee Mr Goodwill said he had been sent a letter by Professor Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, the president of the British Association of Stroke Physicians.

Mr Goodwill said: “The letter was basically confirming the decision, which is a national decision not just local to Scarborough, to base stroke treatment in regional acute units where the chance of survival and good outcomes is much better.

“I have had quite a lot of letters from people concerned that they would like to go to Scarborough to get their stroke seen to [but] all the evidence is that the expertise, the equipment and the amount of treatments the doctor needs to be delivering all point to a regional unit.”

Mr Goodwill said he had been contacted by people concerned about the loss of services in Scarborough, where parts of Urology and Oncology have transferred to other hospitals, including York and Hull.

The MP said: “I think the reassurance we would like from the health service locally is that some treatments may be withdrawn because of budgetary issues and that is something I am quite worried about.

“Others, they say, are not being delivered because they can not recruit staff and I think we need to see what we can do about that.”

A public meeting is being planned for the autumn for people to get more information about the change to stroke services.