I’D like to thank all the people who attended the public meeting in Northallerton on February 2. We understand the concerns among local people and this was a really good opportunity to answer questions.
The overwhelming theme of the evening was the current access to maternity services for people in Hambleton and Richmondshire and how this might change.
I want to assure people that we will be taking the issue of access and transport very seriously during the development phase of this project, particularly for very rural communities.
I would, however, like to set the record straight on the issue of access to consultant-led maternity services. Firstly, it is being reported (Yorkshire Post, February 13) that the outcome of this process would lead to all families in Hambleton and Richmondshire having to travel to the James Cook hospital in Middlesbrough for consultant-led maternity services. This is not the case as there is no predetermined outcome to this process.
Secondly, local families will always have a choice about where to access consultant-led maternity services, and this is not necessarily at the James Cook hospital. For example, families living in the remote village of Hawes can access consultant-led maternity services in Lancaster and Darlington as well as The Friarage and they are all about the same distance away. We have developed a quick guide to show the travelling distances from locations in Hambleton and Richmondshire. This guide can be found at www.nyypct.nhs.uk
During the next few months we will be holding many more meetings. I look forward to speaking to a wide range of people.