Closure by Stealth Claim on Hospitals


MOVES to close maternity units at North and East Yorkshire community hospitals are part of a hidden agenda to close the sites entirely, according a report by health watchdogs to Government Ministers.

County councillors have referred the attempt by Scarborough NHS Trust to close the three midwife-led units at Whitby, Malton and Bridlington to the Secretary of State along with a damning report on the decision.

Chairman of North Yorkshire's Scrutiny of Health Committee John Blackie claims in the report that the trust is using the safety of mothers during labour as a smokescreen to close the midwife-led maternity units.

He continues: "It was clear from the public meetings held by the Scrutiny Committees that the local communities in these towns consider their maternity unit a local facility in their local community hospital, and Scarborough at 20 miles or more away the equivalent of a town in a foreign country

"There is a powerful wave of local concern that the closure of the maternity units is just another in a long running series of cutbacks in services at their treasured Community Hospitals, which eventually will undermine the viability of the very hospitals themselves, and lead to their closure."

He argued the continued run down of services at the Bridlington site in particular raised great concerns around the ongoing viability of the hospital itself.

It is the first time local Scrutiny of Health Committee members have used powers to challenge cuts in this way.

The trust has said it wants to centralise services at Scarborough for safety reasons.