Hospital’s challenges in recruiting emergency room staff

2 June 2017.......      Mum of two Karla Bishop-Loach from Brompton, Northallerton, was  left lying on the floor for an hour and a half and eventually had to find her own way to the Friarage Hospital with a broken shoulder after being told there were no ambulances available for her.   Picture Tony Johnson.
2 June 2017....... Mum of two Karla Bishop-Loach from Brompton, Northallerton, was left lying on the floor for an hour and a half and eventually had to find her own way to the Friarage Hospital with a broken shoulder after being told there were no ambulances available for her. Picture Tony Johnson.
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Health chiefs have admitted challenges in recruiting A&E doctors and nurses have resulted in patients in some of North Yorkshire’s remotest communities being sent to Middlesbrough for emergency care.

A trial period is underway at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton which sees critical and urgent patients diverted by ambulance to Middlesbrough overnight. The move is among a raft of measures, branded “closure by stealth” of the hospital’s A&E department, which are under review as part of the three month scheme.

The current model is “not sustainable” due to workforce challenges and those of a rural population, the district’s CCG has said in a statement on its websites, explaining the trial which was introduced at the end of March.

“Despite considerable efforts by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to recruit, the development of a new Urgent and emergency care model that includes primary care is therefore critical to maintaining 24 hour/365 days a year services based on the hospital site,” said Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG.

Unpublished documents, seen by The Yorkshire Post and detailing the full measures in place during the trial, show there are no longer A&E doctors in the casualty department on an evening, with patients assessed instead by paramedics, nurses and GPs.

A ‘gatekeeper’ decides if patients are admitted when they arrive or are sent to an out of hours GP, while those with critical care needs are diverted to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, a 40 minute drive away.

One source, who asked not to be named but who described themselves as a concerned healthcare professional, said: “This is closure of an A&E department by stealth and trying to circumvent the normal public consultation process.”

The news comes as a Yorkshire mother speaks of her fears over the future of local NHS provision, having waited an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance after a fall this week, only to be told there were none available.

“It’s a big area to cover, right across the Yorkshire Dales,” said Karla Bishop-Loach, who had to find her own way to hospital with a broken shoulder.

County Councillor John Blackie, representing the Upper Dales, has raised further concerns that the changes are being brought in with no public consultation.

“Front line emergency ambulance staff do an absolutely first class job,” he said. “However the demands being placed upon them are making it very difficult for them to maintain their very high standards. In short they are being put in the impossible position of being expected to be in two places or more at the same time.

“It is clear that much of the emergency and urgent healthcare provision is being transferred to the James Cook University Hospital,” he added. “One of the reasons why ambulances are in such short supply is that the extra 23 miles each way they are having to travel results in a delay of an hour and a half in their return to their base stations. The only answer to this is the provision of extra ambulances and front line staff.”

Janet Probert, chief officer of HRW CCG said: “A ‘proof of concept’ phase to test a model of urgent and emergency care has been underway since March 2017 and is subject to ongoing monitoring and evaluation. No other changes have been made to services. The CCG has always been open and transparent on significant service change through appropriate engagement and consultation with the public.

Gill Barker

From reaching the summit of Mount Everest to cycling thousands of miles across America, there’s no end to the lengths people will go to for a cause close to their heart. Breaking boundaries and taking on gruelling endeavours can mean the person taking part enjoys the experience of a lifetime while the charity benefits from generous sponsorship. But taking time off work and organising an extreme, and often costly, adventure just isn’t possible for everyone. That’s why Gill Barker, from Wakefield, has created her own twist on the trend to find the toughest, most epic charity challenge. Gill is set to turn 35 in 2020 – and reaching this milestone has inspired her to have a good think about what she’d like to achieve, both physically and mentally, and write a bucket list to help reach those goals. Gill will complete 35 challenges before her 35th birthday on Saturday March 14. Some are small, some are huge, but all of them will push her beyond her comfort zone. “Turning 33 felt like a big thing for me,” explains Gill, who works in marketing at Leeds Trinity University. “I started to think about the life decisions I’d made. I looked back and while I’d had fun, I regretted all those weekends where I could have been having more fulfilling experiences and creating memories. “I have a full-time job so I couldn’t do a massive overseas challenge, but I realised I could break it down into little bits and still raise as much money as possible for charity.” Gill has already ticked 11 challenges off her list. She’s faced her fear of heights at the outdoor adventure centre Go Ape, trained with the Leeds Rhinos, cycled 128 miles from coast to coast and climbed Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Other challenges have involved changing her diet to ensure she’s getting all the nutrients she needs, and going to the gym more regularly on her own – something that would previously have caused Gill a considerable amount of anxiety. During the festive season, Gill kept active by completing a ‘12 days of Christmas’ workout challenge. Gill is now taking part in RED January, a campaign run in partnership with Mind that encourages participants to beat the winter blues by being active every day throughout the month. Then, later this month she’ll be taking to the slopes at Xscape Yorkshire to try her hand at skiing for the first time. Gill’s biggest test of her ‘35 before 35’ mission so far will be taking part in a 24-hour run in March. The run will be completed on a 3.71-mile loop so not only will it be physically demanding, it will also play on her mental toughness. She will also be finishing the year in style by taking part in the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii in December. There are three conditions that all of Gill’s challenges must meet – they must be physical or stretch her mentally, they all need to be self-funded and they can’t affect her job. Driving Gill’s ambition is a passion to help two local charities that have personal meaning to her – Yorkshire Cancer Research and Leeds Mind. She’s already raised more than £500 for the two causes. “Like many families across the UK, my own family has a history of cancer,” explains Gill. “But people close to me have recently been affected by cancer, too. They’ve all been so strong and inspirational. I wanted to do something that would support them. “I chose to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research after reading that people living here are more likely to get cancer, and more likely to die from it, than people living in other areas of the country. The statistics really shocked me.” Gill chose Leeds Mind following her own struggles with mental health. Her ‘35 before 35’ challenge has helped her overcome a period of depression. “It’s given me something to focus on,” Gill says. “Many people are affected by depression, even those who continue to work and function in everyday life. It’s very easy to fall into that slump and stop doing the things you used to enjoy. “I’m feeling much fitter and healthier, but I’m also happier and more confident now that I have a new focus. “If I can encourage one person who may be going through a difficult period to be brave and do something they’ve never done before, face a fear or take on a new challenge in order to gain a new focus, then that would be brilliant. If I can do it, anyone can.” You can find out more about Gill Barker’s challenges and sponsor her by visiting You can also follow her progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She is also looking for suggestions for challenges to complete the 35 as she is still a few short on her list. For further information on Yorkshire Cancer Research, visit

“We have a legal duty under the NHS Constitution to commission high quality, safe services and will undertake formal consultation if significant service change is required.”

Mark Inman, sector commander at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said the team was in direct contact with Mrs Bishop-Loach about the incident on Sunday.

“Whilst we are not able to discuss details, we can assure members of the public that we follow specific protocols to ensure an appropriate response is provided to all patients.”

Mother’s wait in vain for ambulance

A mother who had to find her own way to hospital with a broken shoulder after waiting an hour and a half for an ambulance that never arrived has spoken of her fears for care provision.

Karla Bishop-Loach, a family outreach worker from Brompton, tripped and fell on Sunday evening while at home with her two daughters. Having hurt her shoulder, broken her cheekbone and with a deep cut above her eye, she was disorientated and in pain and it was her anxious daughters, 15-year-old Shae and 11-year-old Izobel, who called 999 immediately.

“All I remember is my daughter screaming,” the 42-year-old said. “They told my eldest what to do, not to move me, and to wait for an ambulance. An hour and a half later, when they still hadn’t arrived, she called again. They said an ambulance hadn’t been dispatched because they were busy and short.”

Mrs Bishop-Loach, having made her own way to hospital, found she had broken her shoulder. And while the care she received was exceptional, she said, it was worrying that there wasn’t an ambulance available.

“What if it had been an older person lying on the floor in the cold for an hour and a half?” she said. “This could have been far worse.”