Bridlington MP: hospital 'under-used'

Three wards remain closed with a fourth about to shut

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A Conservative MP has called on health secretary Jeremy Hunt to do more to ensure facilities at his town’s hospital are fully employed.

Bridlington MP Sir Greg Knight’s intervention comes in the wake of thousands of cancelled operations across the north due to a lack of beds.

Bridlington Hospital has three empty wards, increasing to four at the end of April. A hospital that had 218 beds when it opened in 1988 will have just 70 being used.

The first cuts at Bridlington took place in 2008 when Labour health secretary Alan Johnson ignored mass protests and accepted the recommendation of Scarborough and North East Yorks Healthcare NHS Trust to transfer cardiac and acute medical services to Scarborough, 20 miles away.

At the time Knight said: “Shadow health secretary Mr Lansley has made it clear to me that he would save the services at Bridlington Hospital. I would therefore expect a future Conservative government to return all services.”

In 2013 NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) closed 12 beds on Buckrose Ward for mental health patients and moved eight beds to Hull, 40 miles away. In April the Macmillan Ward, run by the Humber NHS Foundation Trust, closes.

But Bridlington Hospital, which is overseen by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (YTH), still has three operating theatres for basic and orthopaedic surgery, which local union officials says are performing well, with no cancellations.

“Bridlington Hospital is more modern than Scarborough or York,” said Terry Cunliffe, regional health officer for the union Unite. “At Scarborough some services are delivered in cramped Victorian buildings. When the NHS currently needs more beds it would make sense for Bridlington to be, as Unite has contended for many years, fully utilised.”

Knight said he met Hunt recently to tell him of his concerns that Bridlington Hospital is “grossly underused”, adding: “The current situation is unacceptable and I will soon also be meeting with the head of the hospital trust on this. Over the years local hospital trust managers have steadily removed facilities from the hospital.”

Cunliffe acknowledged reopening wards would require more investment in staff too.

Asked whether empty Bridlington wards should be reopened YTH chief executive Patrick Crowley did not answer directly but said: “Bridlington Hospital is already a centre for excellence for general and orthopaedic surgery. Some of the best surgeons work there.

“The orthopaedic facility relocation was designed with patients’ needs in mind. It has been crucial in helping us manage our winter pressures on the East coast.”

Cancellation figures at Scarborough, York and Bridlington hospitals in the last six months are not yet available from YTH.

Asked by Big Issue North whether Hunt agreed with the calls to reopen wards, an NHS spokesperson said: “The health secretary is always interested to hear the views of MPs, and is pleased to see Sir Greg is also raising his concerns with local NHS leaders who are responsible for decisions made about their hospital services.”

But Cunliffe said: “It is all well and good saying local NHS leaders are responsible for decisions but all the trusts in our region don’t have the funds anymore to provide a comprehensive service. Mr Hunt is badly letting down the NHS, patients and staff across north east Yorkshire.”

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Interact: Responses to Bridlington MP: hospital ‘under-used’

  • Sue B
    25 Jun 2018 19:16
    Had to go all the way to cottingham for breast screening 63yrs old no pension no free bus pass can't afford a car got made redundant at 61 no wonder people don't go for screening

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