Figures from Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust show there are now just 29 beds in total, down from 62 in January 2010. The number of nurses has reduced from 95 who were employed at Goole five years ago to 23 registered nurses and 16 healthcare assistants as of February 6.
The number of medical beds is down from 26 to 15, while doctors have reduced from seven to six. The trust, which recently had to apply for an emergency loan from the Department of Health after running up an £18m deficit, has been accused by Labour of running the hospital down.
Goole town councillor Keith Moore, who uncovered the figures, said patients and their families were being sent by their GPs 30 miles to Scunthorpe or Hull for routine procedures:
He said: “It is really alarming. My understanding is there are two wards totally empty. We are told by members of staff that consultants refuse to travel to Goole, which is why so few services are being provided. Sooner it will be no more than a glorified doctor’s surgery and all that increases pressure on Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals.”
The trust has been working for a year on plans to increase numbers using services following concerns about under-utilisation of the site, including its operating theatres. It said improvements in surgical practice meant patients could be seen as day cases and there were now more alternative treatments to surgery. The hospital no longer takes acute medical admissions. But at least 15 beds are there for medical patients, including stroke patients.
The trust’s chief operating officer Karen Griffiths said: “Goole has a thriving hospital with a wide range of services, including a 24/7 doctor-led minor injuries unit, an impressive range of ophthalmology services in a state-of-the-art suite, and recently expanded diagnostic and gynaecology services.”
Waiting times were among the lowest in the region and they encouraged referrals from GPs and patients.