ASSURANCES over the future of Scarborough Hospital were made to the public during a meeting at Scarborough Library.
The meeting, which was organised by the Scarborough and District LINk (Local Involvement Network), was organised to keep people up to date on the proposed merger between Scarborough and York health trusts.
Speakers included Scarborough Hospital chief executive Mike Proctor, who made it clear that key services in Scarborough - such as accident and emergency - were here to stay.
He said: “There was a fear that we’d send patients off down the A64, but that is not going to happen.
“York Hospital is already full, so it can’t happen and it won’t happen.
“We are continuing to provide and improve an accident and emergency service at the Scarborough site - and it will still be there when I’m long gone.”
Mr Proctor explained that following a strategic review an agreement had been made on which services must be provided at Scarborough.
These include a fully functional A&E department supported by: trauma; paediatrics; general surgery; elective surgery; anaesthetics, theatres and critical care; emergency medicine; diagnostic; obstetrics and impatient beds.
Mr Proctor said that for some very specialist procedures, patients may have to go to a specialist centre.
However, he added: “At Scarborough you will find the same service you’d find at many teaching hospitals.
“In an emergency situation, yes there will be someone available to diagnose and yes, there will be someone available to operate.”
Mr Proctor explained that the two trusts have been working closely together as the proposed merger date of April 1 approaches.
Benefits of the new partnership are already becoming apparent, for example in breast care.
He said: “Now, York is providing a massive team of breast surgeons and radiologists, which provides a service into Scarborough for 52 weeks of the year.
“Before it was only provided for 40 weeks, and now it’s 52 for the same money which is a fantastic improvement.”
Mr Proctor summed up his presentation by saying that as a stand-alone organisation, Scarborough would not be clinically or financially viable or sustainable.
LINKs chairman Leo McGrory, who chaired the meeting, added: “Change can be a time of fear, but change can be good if its properly handled.
“We must change and we will change.”