Withernsea Town Council
The Meridian Centre, 201 Queen Street
Withernsea, HU19 2HH
Telephone/Fax: 01964 614984
August 23rd 2017
The Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State for Health
The House of Commons
Loss of Community Beds at Withernsea Hospital
Further to correspondence which requested you to refer the matter regarding the recent Urgent Care Consultation to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, we wish to urgently draw your attention to a further situation that has arisen at our local hospital.
City Healthcare Partnership has suspended admissions to the community beds in Withernsea Hospital. They state that the decision has been made due to staff shortages. We feel that the staff shortage is a result of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospital and MIU here in Withernsea.
We are very concerned about the continuing loss of local health provision. Our town and the wider South Holderness region it serves has a high index of multiple deprivation and poor health. Many of the people here have the highest health needs and we need to retain our local services. Many do not have their own transport and have to rely on the poor public transport service. The loss of the community beds means that patients will be bed blocking elsewhere, either in Hull, Cottingham or Beverley – at best a 35 mile round trip and often two buses. None of these places are accessible to elderly or sick people or low income families who need to be close to their loved ones. If they are hospitalised at the proposed urgent care centre at the hospital in Beverley – it would be the equivalent of going from London to Southend on Sea..and the public transport system is considerably better there than it is in the rural East Riding of Yorkshire. Access to healthcare in these towns (Hull, Beverley and Cottingham) is already good. It seems that provision is to be improved in these more affluent places, at the cost of our local facilities where they are needed most.
In suspending admissions to our hospital we feel that this move by CHCP is another step toward winding down our local services, and the more time it takes for you to consider whether to refer the decisions made by the East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, events here are likely to overtake the process. It seems that things are going to progress unhindered, whilst advisers and ministers take their time over considering the matter.
It is now some months since this was referred to you, and with the greatest respect, things continue to decline and we continue to lose our local health services.
I would urge you to please try and move this matter on. We fear that once they have gone we will not get them back.
I would like to invite you to come and visit us here to see our local facilities and see first hand the struggle vulnerable people would have to access services elsewhere, and why it is vital that we keep them in our hospital.
Finally, if there is any way you could expedite the process we would be very grateful.
We are working closely with our MP Mr. Graham Stuart who has been supportive throughout and I am sure he will be more than happy to speak to you regarding this matter.
Mrs. A.J. Moxon MILCM – Town Clerk