|Bridlington Demo to Save Hospital on 26 July 2008 @ 10.00am
As Bridlington residents plan to demonstrate to save their hospital on 26 July, the controversy over the NHS trust's recruitment drive for more finance staff took a new twist.
Unite the Union and Save Bridlington Hospital Campaign Action Group will be holding a demonstration in the town on Saturday, 26 July to protest at proposals by Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust to close the cardiac monitoring unit and two acute medical wards at Bridlington Hospital.
Last month, Unite revealed the ‘Alice in Wonderland' situation of the trust advertising for 12 new staff for its finance team with an annual salary bill of more than £350,000 – despite the trust imposing a recruitment freeze since last November.
However, this figure is an underestimate as some of the job categories advertised were for more than one new employee.
The total figure is now 17 jobs with a prospective annual wage bill of £450,000 – a 25% increase in costs than first realised.
Unite Head of Health Kevin Coyne said: ‘Unite can't be accused of scare tactics as we originally underestimated the numbers and costs involved in this finance staff recruitment bonanza.'
‘Hopefully, this new revelation will give local residents an extra spur to turn out in even larger numbers on 26 July, so that the trust's senior managers release the depth of anger being felt in North East Yorkshire over their plans.'
In March, more than 37,000 local people signed a petition, handed in at Downing Street last month, protesting at the proposed cuts at the hospital.
Unite fears - that if the closures are allowed to go ahead - patients' lives could be put at risk if they have to travel the 22 miles to Scarborough hospital for emergency treatment and it is also concerned that Bridlington is isolated in terms of first-class transport links, which could exacerbate travel problems for emergency patients.
Response fro Professor Alberti
Dear Mr Pilling
Many thanks for your kind invitation to attend your rally on 26 July. Unfortunately I have other commitments that weekend and will not be able to join you. In addition as the whole proposal is now in the hands of the Independent Review Panel, I am not able as a civil servant to participate in any activity which might influence the views of the Panel.
Professor Sir George Alberti
Emeritus Professor of Medicine
Response from Iain McInnes
As you know the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has made a request to the Secretary of State for Health for an Independent Review of the decision to change services at Bridlington Hospital . I understand the Secretary of State for Health is currently considering that request. If the request is supported and an Independent Review takes place, it is likely that your March–Rally–Protest will take place during the review period.
It would be inappropriate for the Trust to be seen to be addressing the public to put forward / defend / promulgate the trust position whilst an Independent Review was underway; and could be viewed as the trust trying to influence the Independent Review.
Thank you for your invitation, however, at this point the Trust is unable to address the March-Rally-Protest.
I can assure you that I, the Board and the Executive Team are fully aware, and fully appreciate the strength of feeling of the people of Bridlington and the surrounding area. You know that I and a number of my board colleagues have personally attended public meetings and meetings held in public where local feeling has been made absolutely clear.
I wish you every success with your March-Rally-Protest on 26 th July
Scarborough & North East Yorkshire NHS Trust