NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has published its plans for the future of children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital, following a three-month public consultation process and rigorous clinical reviews.
The CCG’s Council of Members (a representative from each GP practice in the area) has voted unanimously in favour of option 1 which will mean:
- Opening a midwifery-led unit (MLU)
- Developing a paediatric short-stay assessment unit (PSSAU)
- Continuing to deliver community paediatric nursing and consultant paediatric outpatient services at the hospital
Option 1 was also the preferred option of 95% of members of the public who took part in the CCG’s online survey.
Three new proposals were also submitted during the consultation, two from members of the public and one from Richmondshire District Council and were independently assessed by the National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT). They concluded that while there were elements of the proposals that could be worked into a model for the future, none offered a complete clinically safe or sustainable plan.
Our clinicians and managers have been in discussions with the CCG for a number of years now after concerns were raised about the long-term future, sustainability and safety of these services.
On 27 February the CCG will hold an extraordinary governing body meeting in the Golden Lion Hotel’s Yorkshire suite on Northallerton High Street from 10am and an agenda for the meeting, plus all supporting papers (including the full public consultation report and options for the future document), are now available on the CCG’s website www.hambletonrichmondshireandwhitbyccg.nhs.uk
As the preferred option has already been decided by GPs, the governing body will meet to discuss how the option will be implemented and to officially ratify the decision. Members of the public are welcome to go along to observe.
At the start of the meeting, the CCG will also answer any questions that have been submitted in advance by members of the public and these can be emailed to them until midday on Wednesday 26 February at HRWCCG.HRWCCGenquiries@nhs.net
What do the changes mean?
- Children who are unwell can still be seen at the Friarage in the PSSAU but as there would be no inpatient (overnight) care, those who are very sick will be referred to the nearest major centre for specialist inpatient care.
- Pregnant women who are at low risk of complications will have the option to give birth in a new midwifery-led unit at the Friarage, supported by specialist midwives
- Pregnant women at higher risk of complications during labour will need to choose an alternative hospital to give birth, ensuring they receive the most appropriate care from specialist teams with the most advanced facilities and expertise onsite.
- Antenatal care, such as ultrasound scans and assessments will still take place at the Friarage, as will postnatal care and support.
- All community-based maternity services such as clinics and home visiting will continue, offering care as close to home as possible.
Dr Vicky Pleydell, chief clinical officer at NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, said: “The CCG, which is made up of all the GPs who work in this area, has worked hard to find a model for children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital that will offer families services that are safe and robust and will last into the future.
“We have investigated models of service up and down the country, leaving no stone unturned. Other options we looked at did not conform to the high standards we feel it is right to aspire to for our patients. Our job as a CCG is to ensure we deliver safe high quality services for our patients. We cannot compromise on that.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in our public consultation. We received some very useful feedback which helped our local GPs come to their decision.”
Professor Tricia Hart, chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This has been a long and complex process which has stemmed from genuine clinical concerns around the safety and future sustainability of these services.
“Changing the way health services are run isn’t easy, particularly when they are held so dear by people. We know how much loved the Friarage Hospital is and understandably some people will be very disappointed that change has to happen but this will help to safeguard the quality of care our patients receive.”