June 25, 2008
Hospital Fears Loss of Doctors
AN East Yorkshire hospital could be left without any doctors from August, worried staff said yesterday.
The news follows revelations in the Yorkshire Post that Bridlington Hospital is to cease training junior doctors, following a decision by the Yorkshire Deanery which oversees their training.
It leaves the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS trust just weeks to make seven new non-training appointments.
However staff say a previous attempt to recruit non-training posts only led to one person appearing at interview and they fear the latest recruitment effort is doomed to failure.
It is the latest in a torrent of bad news for the trust, which is in the middle of an investigation over plans to close acute and cardiac services.
Chief executive Iain McInnes is "moving on" and finance director Sandy Hogg and deputy chief executive Jason Brine, the non- executive chairman of the trust board's audit committee, have resigned.
A member of hospital staff said there were grave concerns about the lack of medical cover as the consultants prepare to move to new roles in Scarborough.
She added: "We are concerned this will leave Bridlington without doctors. It was always our worry that we would be shut by default.
"If someone has a cardiac arrest they need to have someone on a resuscitation team.
"Three consultants are going to Scarborough and a fourth retired in October and was never replaced. I can't see them being able to do anything more at Bridlington than running a nursing home."
One option for the trust would be using doctors from Scarborough to cover, but a major problem is that there is no surplus capacity in Scarborough for more patients from Bridlington.
Another would be hiring expensive locum staff or a registered medical officer.
The staff member added: "Some of our consultants are very worried. Last week or the week before they were 22 beds short and that was with both sites running. Nobody can imagine what is going to happen for the first week of August."
Announcements about replacements are expected later this week. Mr McInnes will be leaving when a new interim chief executive is appointed.
Regional officer Terry Cunliffe of Unite, Britain's largest trade union said: "The strategic health authority needs to visit Bridlington and address all staff and come clean with them - not just by a memo sent to the wards."
And Coun Ros Jump, portfolio holder for health at East Riding Council, addedd: "It seems very strange that key personnel are removed from post before the results are know from the two Independent Reconfiguration Panel reports.
"This is adding yet another undercurrent to the present murky pool of rumours surrounding the hospital.
"The staff at Bridlington Hospital must feel like crew members on board the Marie Celeste - heading for the rocks and the captain has jumped ship.
Plans to close acute and cardiac services are being examined by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP).
A separate report by the panel into the future of maternity services in Scarborough, Bridlington, Malton and Whitby is expected to be submitted to Health Secretary Alan Johnson by the end of the week.
It is understood that trust officials are expecting a reply on both by the end of July. It is also said that the departure of the three has "absolutely nothing" to do with the IRP report.
In a statement the trust said they were looking to recruit seven non-training appointments but warned it would be difficult because the posts were professionally less attractive, and there was also a national shortage of doctors.
The Strategic Health Authority declined to comment on the issue yesterday.
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