The future of Ripon Community Hospital has been thrown into further doubt after health bosses confirmed all services in the city will be reviewed.
Speaking to the Gazette after a North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) meeting on Tuesday, January 22 in York, NHS boss Richard Ord said a report assessing services in the district will be “looking at all health facilities in Ripon”.
Mr Ord’s comments came after a long list of proposals to cut services across the district which was leaked last month revealed plans to reconfigure Ripon hospital and move services from Harrogate to York or Leeds.
Coun Jim Clark, chairman of North Yorkshire County Council’s health scruntity committee, branded proceedings at the meeting “a farce” after heath bosses failed to present an expected shortlist to reconfigure health services and instead outlined a report setting out eight themes for future changes.
“All they’ve done is kicked the can down the road,” he said. “The fact they couldn’t even approve the report tells us everything. This doesn’t take us any further.”
Ord, the chief executive of Harrogate District Hospital, told the Gazette health officials will be assessing minor injury units, beds, therapy and diagnostics in Ripon.
“If you’re asking ‘do we close or keep beds?’, we don’t know. There will definitely be health care provision in Ripon,” he said.
Ord added that the city’s review strategy, Healthy Ripon, will be ushered in to determine changes before consultation proposals are published in the next six to nine months.
“There will be a future for health care in Ripon,” he said. What we don’t know is what it will look like. We’ve actually increased beds at the moment, from 15 to 20, to cope with winter.
“In the next six to nine months we will get a proper prediction for consultation. The people of Ripon will be consulted on that.”
Tuesday’s report warns the county could be up to £150m in debt by 2016-17 unless action is taken, but pledges to retain 24-hour A&E services and maternity care in Harrogate, Scarborough and York – which had previously been in doubt.