A sustainable future for the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton

The Governing Body of North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group has made a decision on the future of urgent and emergency care at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

Following a temporary closure of the Accident and Emergency Department in March 2019 due to there being insufficient staffing to deliver a safe service to patients, the CCG opened a formal consultation with the local population on 13 September 2019. The aim was to look at options to deliver a sustainable service for the locally while ensuring safe staffing levels and access to high quality specialist care for those who need it.

Over the 18 weeks of the consultation over 2060 people gave their views at public meetings, through online and face to face surveys and at meetings with local community groups.

The public were asked to consider two options:

Option 1: A 24 hour, 7 day a week Urgent Treatment Centre for adults and children with

minor injuries and minor illnesses

Option 2: A 16 hour Urgent Treatment Centre for adults and children with minor injuries and minor illnesses, open 7 days a week from 8am to midnight.

Both options also included a consultant delivered acute medical service 7 days a week, repatriation of patients to the Friarage for care close to home and elective (planned) surgery for day case and short stay inpatients.

Although there was some support for Option 2 when the statistics were shared which demonstrated very low levels of Urgent Treatment Centre attendance overnight, the overwhelming view of those consulted was that the Friarage should offer a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre – the model that has been operating successfully since March 2019.

Dr Charles Parker, Clinical Chair of North Yorkshire CCG said ‘the CCG have reviewed the responses and feedback from the consultation and have agreed that Option 1 is the sustainable way forward for urgent care at the Friarage Hospital. Evidence shows that, under this model, nine out of ten patients will continue to receive their care at the Friarage and we know that the hospital is highly regarded by those who use it’

CCG Accountable Officer, Amanda Bloor, said ‘we want to ensure a vibrant future for the Friarage Hospital as we know local people feel very passionate about it. We feel that by offering a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre at the Friarage site this offers patients a balance between safe and effective local care and access to specialist services when appropriate. This option will secure the sustainability of the Friarage Hospital and will keep it at the heart of the local community where it belongs’