A sustainable future for Bridlington & District Hospital and North East Yorkshire


Today the IRP, the independent expert on NHS service change, publishes a report advising the Health Secretary on contested proposals to transfer cardiac and acute medical admissions at Bridlington & District Hospital to Scarborough Hospital .

The IRP recommends that it is not in the best clinical interests of patients to continue cardiac and acute medical admissions at Bridlington and that providing these services to the standards set out in national clinical guidance is not sustainable.  These services should transfer to Scarborough Hospital as soon as the appropriate staff and facilities are in place to handle the extra inpatients.

The IRP supports the development of other services at Bridlington & District Hospital, including consultant led urgent access clinics, a combined 24/7 minor injuries clinic and GP out of hours service, more day-case surgery, expanded diagnostic and treatment facilities and multi-disciplinary neighbourhood teams to provide and co-ordinate therapy and community support services.  Arrangements for the provision of these services should be taken forward without further delay.

Dr Peter Barrett, Chair of the IRP, said: “Bridlington is an excellent hospital and we were very impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the staff working there. This hospital is well respected and highly valued by the local community. Our report makes recommendations for a sustainable future for the hospital, whilst recognising that the most critically ill patients across North East Yorkshire should be treated at Scarborough . The relatively small population served by Bridlington Hospital does not provide sufficient cases to ensure that all seriously ill patients have the range of clinical expertise and facilities that they should be able to expect.”

The IRP made a number of further recommendations:

  • Scarborough & North East Yorkshire NHS Trust must develop a clear communication plan and fully involve staff in both hospitals in the changes
  • A decision is urgently needed about how diagnostic facilities at Bridlington can be strengthened
  • The local NHS should determine the future role of Bridlington & District Hospital as part of the service strategy for this part of Yorkshire .  Staff and the local community should be fully involved in this process
  • The Trust must ensure clinicians at Scarborough and Bridlington are working in a more integrated way. The Trust should also encourage and strengthen its clinical links with neighbouring larger acute Trusts. 

Extra investment in the ambulance service has already been agreed to accommodate the anticipated extra numbers of urgent transfers.  However, as more people may be travelling between Bridlington and Scarborough to see relatives and friends in hospital, the IRP expects more work to be carried out to secure the future of bus and other local transport links.

Detailed implementation plans for changes to acute services must be finalised and actioned by the Trust as soon as possible.  In view of the extensive managerial changes that have taken place in the Trust over the last six months, progress should be monitored by the Primary Care Trust and the Strategic Health Authority.


The IRP's full report is available at:  www.irpanel.org.uk

For further information please contact the IRP press office on 020 7025 7530 or email [email protected]                                             


About the review

  • The Health Secretary's request for advice follows a referral by the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committees of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and North Yorkshire County Council
  • The Overview and Scrutiny Committees contested the decision taken by Scarborough & North East Yorkshire NHS Trust to transfer acute medical and cardiac admissions at Bridlington Hospital to Scarborough Hospital
  • The IRP was asked by the Health Secretary to consider whether the proposed changes are in the best interests of local people, with a particular focus on safety, sustainability and accessibility
  • As part of the review, the IRP visited the hospitals to see facilities first-hand and meet with healthcare professionals and patients.  They also invited people living and working in the area to come forward with new evidence and, as a result, met with a wide range of other interested parties to inform the review 

About the IRP

1.        The full name of the IRP is the Independent Reconfiguration Panel

2.        The IRP was set up in 2003 to provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health on contested proposals for health service change in England

3.        Under section 244 of the NHS Act 2006 NHS organisations must consult their local authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees on any proposals for substantial changes to local health services. Under section 242 of the NHS Act 2006 NHS organisations must undertake appropriate public engagement. The OSC may refer the proposals to the Secretary of State under regulation 4(7) of the Local Authority (Overview and Scrutiny Committee Health Scrutiny Functions) Regulations 2002

4.        IRP panel members have wide ranging expertise in clinical healthcare, NHS management, public and patient involvement and handling and delivering successful changes in the NHS

5.        Further information, including details of all panel members, is available from www.irpanel.org.uk