We won't give up the fight against hospital

I AM writing in response to the recent letter from Alex Whittaker where she attempts to clarify some points about the new community hospital, which NHS East Riding intends to build, despite being aware of strong opposition from the majority of the residents of the Swinemoor Lane area.

In September last year, outline planning was granted by a handful of non-Beverley based East Yorkshire councillors, despite a residents' petition of more than 400 signatures against the hospital being built on the Swinemoor site, which was handed in to the council offices prior to that council meeting.

As the spokesperson for the residents of this area, I have attended all the community hospital liaison meetings since November last year.

Alex Whittaker has actually confirmed this community hospital will be nurse-led, but she has failed to say that, unlike the Westwood Hospital, which has about 12 beds, this nurse-led hospital will have 30 beds and will serve a third of a million people, which will include the residents of Driffield, Hornsea and surrounding areas.

How can she support high-quality services at Hornsea and Driffield, when all their beds will go as soon as the new Beverley hospital has opened?

The facts are that the number of beds in the East Riding will be reduced and people in rural areas will have further to travel - and at what cost? I notice that Withernsea is not even mentioned.

She was at the May hospital liaison meeting, when I asked the primary care trust to confirm whether there will be any resident doctors at the new hospital. The reply I received from them was, "there should be a doctor on site".

30 beds and not at all sure yet about GP cover? We are still asking them, 'Which GPs are going to take on looking after 30 patients?'

She has not denied this new hospital will not have an accident and emergency department; a minor injuries is not an A&E. Again, at the last meeting in May, I asked the question, "If a person residing in Driffield has severe chest pains, which hospital will he be taken to? The reply was, "Either to Scarborough, Hull or even York hospital." What will happen to people who have heart attacks, fractures, sick children?

Despite her assurances the accident and emergency department in Scarborough is not closing, there was a recent report in the press that this may be the case.
The majority of residents want the Westwood Hospital, which served the town well until they chose to close off one of the two entrances, to be saved and improved, rather than sell this prime location site off, we assume, for expensive housing with views of the Westwood.

Alternatively, the new hospital could be built on the ambulance station site. This site is not as high flood risk and should have been the first choice; even the primary care trust's matrix shows this site as very suitable, but, we are told, would not have been granted planning by the council? Why? The ambulances are there!

Alex reports that traffic volume has been surveyed and has satisfied the agencies. This really is an incredible remark, since there are huge concerns about the volumes of traffic expected to enter Swinemoor from both the southern relief road and from the huge Flemingate development (given planning approval last year) and now they decide to include a hospital on this major road.

The message we have for our council on this occasion, is that the residents will not give up and if we continue to be ignored and this hospital is built on this site, then the lives of thousands of East Riding residents will be adversely affected and we shall hold this council responsible. Full information is available at www.noswinemoorhospital.co.uk

Sally De Bono,
Spokesperson for the residents
of the Swinemoor Lane and
Sigston Road area.