Well done to the Scarborough News for bringing to the attention of all the plight of surgery in Scarborough Hospital. Sadly, this is not new. I and my colleagues have been warning Trust management repeatedly for some years that a crisis was imminent. And it applies across the speciality spectrum, not just surgery.
Ever since the amalgamation of Scarborough hospital facilities and services into the York Trust there has been a steady and inexorable decline in services provided. Ten years ago Scarborough Trust boasted clinical services in the management of stroke victims, those with breast conditions, nutritional problems, gastroenterological surgery, orthopaedics and opthalmology that were not only the envy of the county but also nationally. Scarborough punched way above its weight in terms of population with regards to research and clinical excellence. No wonder then that at that time there were fewer problems attracting staff.
These days all we hear as an excuse is that there are problems with recruitment. But how can York continue to appoint medical and nursing staff in large numbers exclusively to work on the York site? Surely York Trust should recognise that they have equal responsibilities to the residents of Scarborough and its locality as to the local population of York.
Many District Hospitals face similar problems. One solution lies in hub and spoke appointments . Contracts of employment with the employing Trust mandate working on multiple sites.
Then, as Robert Goodwill was led to believe, doctors would travel to Scarborough, not as presently happens 1,000s of patients travelling to York .
Sadly, it is not only surgery that is at risk in Scarborough Hospital. All emergency and elective care is vulnerable. Unless Trust personnel, most of whom are York based, recognise this, then it has to be accepted that the future viability of Scarborough hospital is in serious doubt.
In the modern NHS there is a trend towards centralisation of resources and, as such, smaller hospitals are vulnerable. Nonetheless, with centralisation of resources should go centralisation of responsibility. My concern is that the people of Scarborough are receiving a second class service.
Professor John MacFie
Hall Garth Lane,
West Ayton, Scarborough