Major service change is not getting any easier in North Yorkshire: plans to close inpatient children’s services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton are back on the agenda, a press release reveals.
A downgrade of maternity services would be likely to follow, says a newly published review from the National Clinical Advisory Team, which supports the changes.
The clinical commissioning reforms, according to their (few) supporters, should make reconfiguration easier.
The logic is that changes will have been developed by clinicians, so will be easily grasped by a public full of trust for their doctors.
So North Yorkshire’s statement emphasises the role of the local CCG. It says: “Members of the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group plan to lead a three-month public engagement exercise.”
The release quotes Vicky Pleydell, “local GP and the shadow accountable officer” of the CCG.
“As local leaders of the NHS, we are committed to the future of the Friarage Hospital. [But], as with many smaller hospitals across the country, it faces a number of challenges,” she says.
Within hours of the news emerging, The Northern Echo reported: “Proposals that could lead to the downgrading of children’s and maternity services at one of the region’s hospitals were last night branded ‘entirely unacceptable’.” The local council leader had not been convinced by the GPs, it seems.
And the local MP? One William Hague, member for Richmond and more notably the foreign secretary, has insisted the proposals “should be subject to exhaustive discussion and examination”.