Patients will have to travel for miles for surgery after a theatre closed at an East Coast hospital.
Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust said it was closing the main theatre at Bridlington Hospital until the beginning of February for "essential maintenance work" and patients would either be treated at the Shepherd day-case theatre at Bridlington, Scarborough or at Malton.
But Mick Pilling who has been a leading light in the battle to defend patient services in the East Riding said it was another "nail in the coffin" for the hospital.
The 24-bed Thornton rehabilitation/intermediate care ward at the hospital has been closed since September, with the trust struggling to recruit staff, and Mr Pilling fears the same will be true of the theatre.
Mr Pilling said up to 50 patients a week would be affected, adding: "Once we have closed something we never get it back.
"They are always saying things are temporary but it never takes off again.
"The hospital just seems to be dwindling away."
In a statement the hospital said: "Patients who would normally use this theatre will be transferred for their surgery to our other theatre at Bridlington Hospital, with the potential for some procedures being carried out at Malton Hospital, if necessary.
"We are confident that all booked elective surgery can be accommodated throughout this period."
It said it was keen to "increase patient activity" at the hospital and once more nurses were recruited it would look to reopen Thornton ward.