Patients who suffer a stroke in Scarborough will soon find themselves being taken to York Hospital for treatment.
The move has been announced by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Scarborough Hospital, and will come into force from July.
Bosses insist the change is a temporary measure brought about by major problems in recruiting replacements for stroke consultants who are due to retire this summer.
A spokeswoman said: “Despite a number of attempts to find replacements since 2013, only one consultant has recently been recruited.
“This means that a hyper-acute stroke service cannot be provided due to the need for seven day per week consultant cover.
“In order to maintain patient safety, from early July all patients who suffer a stroke in the Scarborough and Bridlington area will be transported by ambulance to York Hospital to receive specialist acute care. “Patients who are within an appropriate distance of Scarborough Hospital will first be taken there for assessment and, if stroke is confirmed, given clot busting drugs (thrombolysis) before being transferred to York.
“Patients within an appropriate distance of York Hospital will be taken there directly for thrombolysis and subsequent treatment.
“Specialist acute stroke care is typically needed for around 72 hours after a stroke has been confirmed. Once medically stable, patients will be transferred back to Scarborough Hospital to receive the appropriate level of rehabilitation.”
Mike Proctor, deputy chief executive at York trust, said: “We fully appreciate that patients want to receive care as close to home as possible, but maintaining patient safety has to be the number one priority in order to guarantee the best possible outcome for stroke patients. It is also important to highlight that, for most stroke patients, they will only need to be at York Hospital for around three days. Once they are medically stable they will return to Scarborough for rehabilitation.”
During this interim period, specialist intensive stroke rehabilitation for patients on the East Coast will be delivered at Scarborough Hospital.
General rehabilitation for Bridlington residents will still be available at Bridlington Hospital. Bridlington stroke services will be consolidated and delivered from a single ward.