SCARBOROUGH Hospital would not be clinically or financially viable without a proposed merger with York Teaching Hospital, councillors have been told.
Mike Proctor, the chief executive of Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, told members of Scarborough Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee that the move would also make it easier to attract new consultants to the area.
According to trust figures there is a 12 per cent vacancy rate – compared with the average for England of one per cent – and between three and four percent of the trust budget spent on hiring locum doctors.
He said: “Having teaching hospital in the name of your organisation will attract consultants.”
Cllr Martin Smith said: “We’ve always had difficulty recruiting consultants because of the geograpgical area.”
Mr Proctor said that this was a beautiful part of the country and added that consultants wanted to work as part of a large team, rather than the smaller teams found in Scarborough, because they would spend less time on call.
Cllr Amanda Robinson asked whether patients would be able to see the same consultant during their treatment.
Mr Proctor said: “Once they’ve been seen by that one consultant they would remain that consultant’s patient. Continuing care will not be passed from consultant to consultant.”
He said that 20 years ago it was highly regarded but changes within the NHS, such more specialists and payment by results, had meant that its reputation had suffered. “We can make the whole organisation better than the sum of the two organisations,” he added.
“We’ve got to overcome the reputation of Scarborough – that’s the hard part. People come into Scarborough Hospital expecting it to be a lousy hospital. I believe that in the next five years we can make a difference in that.”