GPs' Letter Criticising the Trust

WE are writing this letter to express our strongest objection to the proposed closure of the Cardiac Monitoring Unit (CMU) at Bridlington District Hospital. We feel we represent the views of the overwhelming majority of the people of Bridlington and that the proposed changes do not represent our patients' best interests.

This opinion is based on the following grounds :

1. The CMU at Bridlington provides a local and highly effective diagnostic and treatment service for all people suffering myocardial infarction (coronary thrombosis), life threatening cardiac arrhythmias (heart rhythm disturbances), and other life-threatening causes of chest pain.

We accept this comes at a yearly financial cost but we feel this is sustainable in the long term.

2. The next nearest available unit would be at Scarborough Hospital (18 miles away), or if/when that is full, Hull or York.

It is well established that rapid intervention (within the first hour), reduces mortality after myocardial infarction.

Ambulance services are already overstretched in the Bridlington area and are already spending increasing time transferring patients to Scarborough; they cannot guarantee to reach the patient within target times.

At least one extra ambulance would be needed: this in itself is negating a significant proportion of the proposed savings.

Scarborough is 30 minutes away on good roads (without being blocked by snow or flooding).

Patients die on the way to Scarborough.

While this is sometimes tragically inevitable, in this instance it is not necessary.

3. The very fact there is a CMU at Bridlington Hospital allows the continuation of a range of other services at Bridlington (and is key to the development of new services).

Patients can only have certain procedures performed at Bridlington because their physicians know they have the security of the CMU immediately available.

Closure of the CMU would mean patients having to be transferred to Scarborough or Hull for these procedures. Bridlington Hospital would become a rehabilitation/convalescence unit. Rapidly, high quality acute medical and nursing staff would leave the hospital and would be impossible to replace.

4. Our population includes many elderly and infirm people.

Patients with angina often choose to live in Bridlington because it is flat.

They need a local cardiac unit .

Many of our patients cannot afford, or are physically too frail, to travel to Scarborough or Hull on public transport to visit their partners and loved ones. Closing the CMU would separate them from their family with no increased chance of survival.

This is unacceptable.

5. As general practioners, we believe this proposal is politically driven, with potential short-term cost savings in mind.

Those proposing it do not live in Bridlington or its surrounds, nor do they have relatives here.

They will not be accountable in the future.

Dr EA Barton, Dr M Hardman and Dr PA Harris, on behalf of Bridlington Medical Centre, Dr NP Cross, on behalf of Field House Surgery, and Dr AS Robertson, on behalf of Manor House Surgery.

Reply from Iain McInnes

Dear Colleagues; You may be aware of an open letter that the local GPs have sent to the Bridlington Free Press. A copy of the letter is attached to this email. In summary the GPs have expressed their strong concern regarding the closure of the CMU. Below is a joint response from ourselves, the East Riding of Yorkshire PCT and Yorkshire Ambulance Services. Inevitably there has been press and media interest; Look North are likely to be running the story this evening.  The press statement below will be our base for any comment/interview from the Trust. At the Staff Briefing on Wednesday we will be giving a more detailed update report on the Bridlington Hospital Project Plan.