Councillors condemn threatened health cuts

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Councillors in North Yorkshire have condemned plans for wide-ranging cuts in health services in the county.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council yesterday said they had sent a “loud and clear” message to NHS bosses amid dismay over upcoming plans for a major reconfiguration of services.

A resolution passed by councillors acknowledged the financial pressures facing the NHS but said there was “no room to reduce the healthcare services currently provided to meet the immediate, urgent and unplanned needs of its local residents and visitors, and expects 24/7 consultant-led A&E services, 24/7 consultant-led maternity and children’s services, and the opening days and hours of minor injury units to remain at the level currently provided”.

Coun Jim Clark, chairman of the council’s health scrutiny committee, said the cuts being considered would be fought “robustly and vigorously”.

“These changes are the biggest in the history of the NHS in North Yorkshire, and if they are implemented the result will be an unacceptable reduction in the quality and availability of health care for thousands of people,” he said.

The Yorkshire Post has revealed a “long list” of potential plans including axeing as many as half of the county’s hospital beds and downgrading 24-hour A&E care and ending consultant-led maternity care at Scarborough Hospital.

Doctors at the GP-led Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group say both existing opening hours of A&E and levels of maternity care at the hospital “will not be affected” by the outcome of the financial review.