Parliamentary candidates hit out at changes to Whitby Hospital’s out-of-hours GP service

Parliamentary candidates said they were ‘disappointed’ and ‘concerned’ at changes to Whitby’s out-of-hours GP service.
Alison Hume And Roberto Weeden SanzAlison Hume And Roberto Weeden Sanz
Alison Hume And Roberto Weeden Sanz

Labour and Conservative candidates have hit out at changes to Whitby Hospital’s out-of-hours GP provision which has limited in-person appointments to weekends from Tuesday, April 2 onwards.

The Conservative candidate for Scarborough and Whitby, Roberto Weeden-Sanz, said he was “disappointed” by the decision and “appalled at the lack of communication” he said local residents had received.

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Labour’s parliamentary candidate, Alison Hume, said she was “very concerned about the reported loss of Whitby’s Out of Hours GP cover at Whitby Hospital” and that her “inbox is full of messages” from people in Whitby who were “understandably worried”.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust has said that patients wishing to access the out-of-hours service will have to call 111 between 6.30pm and 8am from Monday to Friday and at all weekends and Bank Holidays.

Additionally, an out-of-hours GP is set to be on-site at Whitby Hospital on Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm for patients requiring face-to-face appointments.

The new provider, Nimbuscare, operates more than 10 practices, mainly in the York area.

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Roberto Weeden-Sanz told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “I am disappointed by the Humber Trust’s decision to choose a partner which provides only a reduced out-of-hours service.

“We are continuing to see the damaging long-term impact of the last Labour government’s renegotiation of GP contracts, where they took out the obligation to provide out-of-hours care.”

Speaking to the LDRS, Alison Hume said: “If, as some of us fear, the service is going to be relocated to Scarborough Hospital, then this would be yet another example of how primary local care is being ripped away from Whitby in front of our eyes under the Conservatives.

“This latest decision completely fails to take on board the warnings of Professor Chris Whitty about the dire effects of health inequalities in coastal communities.”

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Following the changes, home visits are set to continue to be provided by the GP out-of-hours service in Whitby and surrounding areas “as per initial clinical assessment”.

Ms Hume added: “Despite numerous emails and phone calls from my team, Nimbuscare have been unable to answer the simple question of where the service will be provided.

“They urgently need to provide the people of Whitby with certainty.”

Mr Weeden-Sanz stated: “I have contacted the Trust several times in the last week to get more information and met a stonewall, it is clear that the NHS needs reform and greater accountability.

“I will continue to work to stop Whitby from being left behind and campaign to ensure that the hospital maintains the services it currently has.”