Council objects in the strongest possible terms to hospital service reductions in Scunthorpe

People, Health and Care
15:31, Friday, 6th October 2023

At a North Lincolnshire Council meeting councillors voted unanimously to object to proposals to move some services out of Scunthorpe General Hospital – leaving local people with the long trek to Grimsby to receive treatment or visit friends and family.

The council also raised the prospect of launching a judicial review if local people’s views are not given the weight they deserve when deciding on the future of health services in the area.

Cllr Rob Waltham, leader, North Lincolnshire Council, said: “The proposals are clearly about saving money rather than what is best for local people.

“Improving services must be at the heart of any changes – the people of Scunthorpe and the surrounding area should get the best possible healthcare.

“Where there is a need for specialisms having a single site – and if better care can be assured – then the support mechanism for people accessing that care need to be in place.”

Cllr Len Foster, leader, Labour Group, said: “Having attended three separate briefings from the Integrated Care Board (ICB) on behalf of the National Health Service regarding the transfer of services from Scunthorpe General Hospital to Grimsby I have, unfortunately, become more disheartened with each meeting.

“What is supposedly a consultation with North Lincolnshire residents is appearing more like a fait accompli.

“This is a total turn-around by the NHS who not so long ago were talking up the possibility of providing a full ‘Blue Light Zone’ encompassing all health and emergency services but obviously not only has this been shelved but we face a possibility of a withdrawal of many services in Scunthorpe.

“Nevertheless, we need to ensure that this is not the beginning of the end or the death by a thousand cuts for Scunthorpe and I would encourage all local residents to express their dissatisfaction by engaging in the consultation – patients and their loved ones within the Scunthorpe area should not be forced to lose out on these vital health services.”

The extraordinary meeting of the council was called after health bosses launched a public consultation, inviting residents to share their thoughts on proposed changes to the way some services are provided across Scunthorpe General Hospital and Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.

The 14-week consultation is being led by NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) – the proposals seek to provide some services solely from Diana Princess of Wales Hospital rather than across both hospitals, as is now the case.

The proposal being put forward relates to a trauma unit, overnight emergency surgery, specialist teams for heart, lung and stomach conditions and paediatric overnight care for children and young people who need to stay in hospital for more than 24 hours.

A final decision will be taken by the ICB Board in 2024.

The motion agreed by the council was: “This council strongly objects to the clinician-led proposals recently announced by the ICB regarding the transfer of some vital NHS services from Scunthorpe General Hospital to Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby. Transferring services to Grimsby would mean that patients and visitors would face additional transport costs which is an unnecessary barrier to accessing important health services.

“However, what is currently proposed can only be described as a major downgrading of Scunthorpe General Hospital and its services to the detriment of our communities, and will only benefit those who live in North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire.

“We will work with all local MPs and we will defend robustly the health needs of our children, families and older and disabled residents to protect our NHS services in Scunthorpe. The Council reserves the right to apply for a full judicial review should the outcome of the consultation and the resulting recommendations not be in the best interests of North Lincolnshire residents.”

Three drop-in consultation sessions will be held; the first in Goole on 12 October, the second in Grimsby on 16 October and finally in Scunthorpe on 20 October.

People can also visit the consultation website at www.betterhospitalshumber.nhs.uk to find out more about the proposal, full details of the consultation events and provide their feedback.