Plans in place for urgent temporary changes to services at the Friarage Hospital

Posted on in Hospitals, The Friarage

The operational plans to support the urgent temporary changes announced for the Friarage Hospital for 27 March are now being put in place to ensure that the changes happen safely, with minimal impact on patients and local communities and North Yorkshire’s Scrutiny of Health committee have today been updated on the changes.

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has identified that up to eight patients a day will be affected by these urgent temporary service changes at the Friarage, with three patients during hours and five patients out of hours being cared for at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough or the Darlington Memorial Hospital. Where appropriate, patients will return to the Friarage once their condition has improved, for the remainder of their hospital stay.

The Trust announced the introduction of urgent temporary changes from 27 March 2019 to ensure continued provision of safe clinical services. The changes are due to significant gaps in the anaesthetic workforce and affect critical care services, resulting in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) service temporarily changing to a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC). However, 89%, almost nine out of ten patients, will still have their care delivered at the Friarage site, with planned day surgery and outpatient clinics continuing, and, in some specialties, increasing.

Adrian Clements, medical director for the Friarage Hospital said: “We now have robust operational plans in place for this urgent temporary change and we are very confident that The James Cook University Hospital is able to manage this additional patient demand and have had similar assurances from Darlington Memorial Hospital and from the ambulance service.

“As the majority of patients will continue to receive their care at the Friarage, we are ensuring the changes bring as little disruption for them as possible. For those patients who attend the clinical decision unit, they will be assessed and triaged by a consultant, supported by diagnostic services and cared for at the Friarage, with only patients needing specialty and critical care being diverted to other hospitals.

“We have today briefed the Scrutiny of Health committee for North Yorkshire on these changes and our plans for implementation. We were able to reassure them on our plans to increase day case surgery, explain that all minor illnesses and injuries that will be treated at the Friarage 24 hours a day. We explained the anticipated number of patients affected and the consensus we have from clinicians on this being the model that can provide us with a sustainable model for the future of the Friarage.

“We will be reporting back to the committee on the changes and keeping them fully informed on our plans. Our key focus for the next two weeks will be the continued safety of our patients and provision of support to our staff, whilst ensuring these operational changes are delivered effectively.”
The Trust is committed to developing a safe, long term and sustainable future for the Friarage and once the current services have been stabilised to ensure patient safety, the Trust will be working in partnership with the CCG to deliver a full public consultation.

More information, including a leaflet about the urgent temporary service changes, can be found at