Unit supporters face waiting game
CAMPAIGNERS must now play the waiting game before they discover whether their battle to stop any permanent cuts to the opening hours of Malton Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit will prove successful.
The news comes after Simon Cox, the chief operating officer with the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), was handed a petition signed by Mercury readers on Thursday.
He had been at Derwent Surgery, Norton, for talks with local GPs as they debated ways of providing future health services to the people of Ryedale in the face of the £2.4 million deficit the CCG will inherit when the York and North Yorkshire Primary Care Trust is disbanded in April.
Top of the agenda was the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Malton Hospital which has seen its opening hours cut from seven days a week to 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – a temporary move that the CCG believes will save it £100,000 but which has led to widespread condemnation from the public who fear the new opening hours will become permanent.
Dr Mike Lynch, senior partner at Derwent Surgery, said the campaign is essentially “on hold” until the financial figures are revealed at the end of February.
“I think it’s disappointing but not surprising that the temporary closure for cost measures is not the end of the story,” he said. “I never thought it was and clearly it isn’t. There isn’t the will from the majority of the CCG panel to keep things as they were.
“We are waiting until the end of February when, according to the CCG, the robust savings will be announced and how much they are looking to save. If they haven’t saved a lot of money, it would make sense to open the unit again. If they have saved money then we are back to the negotiating table.
“Clearly, its a difficult situation. They say savings have to be made from somewhere and this is one of the areas they are trying to make those savings. They are well aware of the public concern with the proposals but equally they are determined that changes have to be made.”
Thursday’s meeting focused on discovering if there was any scope for running the Minor Injuries Unit differently with a number of different proposals put forward by Dr Lynch and others.
“We are very happy to look at ways of adjusting the service,” said Dr Lynch. “We are very keen to get the service open again. If we can work differently and it can be funded differently then we are happy to look at that but certainly we need to know what these figures show and whether our commitment at the surgery allows us to put the extra staff at the unit.”
Cllr Lindsay Burr told the Mercury: “Simon Cox said that he is going to look at things – how we interpret that who knows.
“At the end of the day, he is the man who will decide whether we have adequate health care in Ryedale. I think everyone is getting frustrated and cross because it has been going on too long – especially the staff who don’t know whether they are going to be made redundant or redeployed. We are completely in his hands.”
The Mercury’s petition will now be formally presented to the CCG’s Governing body at its next meeting in February.
“We appreciate the strength of local feeling towards the MIU and understand that no one wants to see any reduction in the services it provides,” said Mr Cox. “It is important that people recognise the magnitude of the financial challenges currently being faced by the NHS across North Yorkshire and York and that if we don’t take action now, the threat to services in the future will be even greater.”
He added: “We are currently reviewing the impact of the reduced hours at the MIU and an interim report will be presented to our Governing Body at the February meeting.”
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Weather for Malton
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: North east
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