SUPPORT continues to grow for the campaign to keep Malton Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit fully operational.
A total of 620 people have so far signed an online petition against the decision to cut the unit’s opening hours to Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, amid fears that the move could become permanent at the end of its trial period in March and spell further cuts at the hospital.
And Hundreds more concerned residents have put pen to paper to sign and send in a Mercury leaflet that demands that the hospital is “kept for our community.”
Ryedale MP Anne McIntosh has also entered the fray to oppose the plans from the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commission Group (CCG) which says it will save £100,000 by reducing the hours.
“I am extremely concerned at the reduction in hours proposed for the small injuries unit,” she told the Mercury. “Not only was this announced without any consultation with the normal medical or patient bodies it leaves the staff in limbo as regards the future use if the unit.
“I am also concerned at the impact on the local community and other services such as the ambulance service and accident and emergency service at neighbouring hospitals.”
“The proposed reduction in services is set against an alarming background of a £19 million deficit for the PCT and ongoing chronic underfunding of the health service in North Yorkshire under successive Governments.”
Residents have also taken the time to share their tales of the importance of the Minor Injuries Unit.
Ian Brown, of Town Street, Old Malton, said: “When I broke my ankle two years ago they gave me excellent treatment. If Malton Hospital reduced services, I would have to travel either to York or Scarborough Hospitals.
“How would I have got there? Call an ambulance which would tie it up in unnecessary travel when I can just jump in a taxi for a couple of pounds and go to Malton? I hope this helps with keeping Malton Hospital open as I said earlier it is important to our community.”
Hilary Jolliffe, of Eastgate, Pickering, also shared his dismay at the reduction of the unit’s opening hours.
“The volume of traffic on the York and Scarborough roads, particularly in the holiday season would make this totally unacceptable,” she said. “As it is a journey to York and Scarborough hospitals can be arduous, time consuming and that doesn’t include the parking on arrival! We deserve better, Malton is a great unit.”
And John Taylor, of Brindle Way, Norton, spoke of his experiences travelling to York Hospital following an accident in the evening when he slipped and split the palms of both his hands.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance.
“We spent around three hours in Accident & Emergency at York Hospital,” he said. “Fortunately, my grand daughter had her own car and followed the ambulance to York. We arrived back home at 4.15 am. Fortunately our grand daughter has a car.
“But what would the situation have been like had we not had transport available to drive us home - in the middle of the night?
“Malton Minor Injury Unit serves a very wide rural area. What would the situation have been like had my accident occurred somewhere in the rural hinterland of Ryedale?
“I stress, I would have been in a worse predicament then, had I been on the Warfarin blood thinning medication that I am on now.”
l To sign the online petition calling on the CCG to keep Malton Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit fully operational, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/maltonhospital/
What do you think?
Send your letters on this and any other topic in the Mercury to Andrew Pitt, at 17-23 Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough YO11 1BB, or email