General surgery, urology, vascular and plastic has already gone from Bridlington to a new day case unit at Scarborough and will be joined by the rest of non-orthopaedic surgery, staff say.
One member of staff, who didn’t want to be named, said it was a case of “Peter robbing Paul”, adding: “At Scarborough they have two Nightingale wards that were closed for being not fit for purpose and they spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on them and are calling them Scarborough Day Case Surgery.
“It means 60 per cent of the patients from Shepherd Day Case and Lloyd Ward (at Bridlington) are now going to Scarborough. Taxpayers’ money is going on wards at Scarborough when we have a perfectly fit, modern hospital at Bridlington.”
At the height of the pandemic all surgical staff were transferred to work in intensive care and on Covid wards at Scarborough.
Surgery returned last August, but then the new wards started being done up at Scarborough and since January services started getting pulled out.
The most recent was vascular, which transferred to Scarborough around six weeks ago, the member of staff said, adding that it was no way to repay Bridlington staff who had worked so hard.
There is also mounting concern that empty wards on the ground floor will be used by GP surgeries, preventing the return of palliative care and consultant-led clinics. At the moment relatives of elderly patients are facing long trips to see their loved ones.
A staff meeting in May was told Humber Foundation Trust was looking at using some of the space on the site.
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust chief executive Simon Morritt told the meeting there had been talks with the Humber trust, adding: "I think we need to explore that with partners because it's good estate and we shouldn't leave good estate idle when we know we have quite poor estate across many of our rural areas on the East Coast."
Councillors, as well as staff and Bridlington Health Forum (BHF) are concerned major changes are taking place without public consultation.
A 24-page document, Working Towards A Healthy Bridlington, issued by bodies including the York trust, invites people to have a say on proposals focusing on six areas.
It includes the use of shared sites, under a section entitled "One Single Estate", which makes no mention of the potential use of the wards.
A press release claimed “positive conversations” had taken place with ward councillors and BHF. However Bridlington councillors Mike Heslop-Mullens, Andy Walker, Tim Norman and Liam Dealtry denounced the document as a “marketing tool to mislead people into accepting the loss of their hospital services”.
They said: “We know that well-hidden details behind this plan will ruthlessly and irreversibly degrade our hospital.”
BHF chairman Jean Wormwell said they begged them to properly involve residents, adding: "Our concerns and suggestions have been heard but not listened to, and these hidden cuts and sell-offs are being railroaded through. Please don’t be fooled, York Trust is abandoning Bridlington.”
The York trust said it was one of a number of bodies “working together to create opportunities for change” to improve locals’ health.
A statement said: “The nature of the way that health services are provided means that more specialist services are now provided in larger centres such as Hull, York or Scarborough.”
They confirmed that a “broad range of surgical services” are provided at Scarborough with orthopaedics, ear, nose and throat, maxillofacial and gynaecology surgery offered at Bridlington.
A joint statement from the trust and East Riding CCG said there were “no hidden plans”. It said the proposals were not about recreating the past "but building on the present and exploiting new opportunities for the future" - for example by using digital innovation.
People can read more about the proposed plans by visiting healthybridlington.co.uk.
There is also a 5-minute survey by visiting www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HealthyBridlington2021.
For a hard copy call 01482 652156 and leave a message or email [email protected]