NHS bosses to be quizzed over hospital changes

Hospital chiefs are to be quizzed over proposed controversial changes to children’s and maternity services at Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital at a series of public meetings which start from this week.

Plans to move the services to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough have provoked a storm of protest since they were announced last year, with Richmondshire District Councillors last month calling on NHS chiefs to “think out of the box” in finding a way to retain the services at the Friarage.

The first of a series of nine public meetings begins this Thursday at the Farmers Auction Mart in Thirsk.

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All meetings will be hosted by leading GPs, hospital clinicians and senior NHS managers from the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Vicky Pleydell, a local GP and the Shadow Accountable Officer for the Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are looking forward to meeting with local people as part of our public engagement on the future of children’s and maternity services at the Friarage hospital. As a group of GPs, we share local people’s strength of feeling for services at the Friarage hospital.

“We are determined to ensure it continues to be the main focus for hospital-based healthcare in Hambleton and Richmondshire.

“We have arranged this series of public meetings to allow people to gain a greater understanding of the current situation, how it has come about and what options lie before us.

“This is not a formal consultation but more a series of discussions with people with whom we want to be open and honest. We are particularly keen to hear the views of young mothers and families across the area so I hope to see as many there as possible.”

The meeting begins at 6.30pm.

For more information, visit www.nyypct.nhs.uk/friarage.