I am very concerned about the reduction in health services at Scarborough Hospital available to people living in the more rural parts of my constituency. Many are having to travel through to York for medical care. I have received a number of letters from constituents worried about the long distances they now have to travel, sometimes in considerable discomfort, to access the health services they need and this is not acceptable. I heard from one patient, for example, who had very recently been required to attend hospital at 7.30am to remove a tumour only to be discharged at 11pm and another who was discharged a 2am.
Together with the Scarborough and Whitby MP, Robert Goodwill, I have met with both the Secretary of State, Matt Hancock MP and Health Minister, Stephen Hammond MP to discuss what can be done. They have both promised to come back to me as soon as possible and Mr Hancock said, if a robust business case was submitted he would consider reviewing Scarborough hospital’s status as an “unavoidably small” hospital which would mean it could qualify for extra funding.
In recent correspondence with York Hospital Trust, I made it clear that I did understand that resources are very tight and that we have to make the services as efficient as possible. However, there does have to be a full range of services available to people living in rural areas and smaller urban settlements. We have already seen closures and downgrades of other hospitals such as the Lambert in Thirsk and the Friarage in Northallerton and neither Mr Goodwill nor I want to see the same happening in Scarborough where there has been a significant diminution in the provision of services and continuing uncertainty about the future of Scarborough hospital. The recent decision to centralise the breast oncology outpatient service to York hospital means that the 665 oncology patents who attend Scarborough hospital every year for treatment now have to travel to York.