THE Gazette & Herald’s petition to retain the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Malton Hospital has been handed over to health chiefs.
District councillor Lindsay Burr (Lib Dem), a Malton ward member and organiser of the campaign, and Dr Michael Lynch, senior partner at Derwent Practice, presented the petition – signed by more than 10,000 people – to Simon Cox, chief operating officer for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) last Thursday.
The campaign to stop further cuts at Malton Hospital was launched in November after it was announced the opening hours of the minor injuries unit were to be reduced from 8am-9.30pm, seven days a week, to just 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Coun Burr said the decision over the future of the unit was now in the CCG’s hands.
“We have done all we can and they need to recognise the fact that thousands of people have spoken out by signing our petition in just eight weeks,” she said.
“Let us hope that they take into consideration the fact that the people of Ryedale want the hours of the MIU reinstated, especially at weekends because the reduced hours are just not good enough and are worrying for local residents.”
As well as the petition, hundreds of people joined the Don’t Cut the Care campaign march last month in support of Malton Hospital.
Coun Burr said support for the campaign had been ‘amazing’.
“We still have petitions coming in and would urge anyone who does still have a copy to submit them as soon as possible,” she said.
“No one in Ryedale wants the reduction in hours to become permanent – it is just not good enough for our residents.”
Mr Cox, said: “I’d like to thank the campaign leaders for the petition which will be formally presented to our governing body at its next meeting in February. We appreciate the strength of local feeling towards the MIU and understand that no one wants to see any reduction in the services it provides.”
“However, it is important that people recognise the magnitude of the financial challenges currently being faced by the NHS across North Yorkshire and York and that if we don’t take action now, the threat to services in the future will be even greater.
“As our CCG will take over from the PCT in April and subsequently inherit a share of any debt they have accumulated, we must do all we can to help the PCT keep this deficit to an absolute minimum.”
Mr Cox added: “We are currently reviewing the impact of the reduced hours at the MIU and an interim report will be presented to our governing body at the February meeting. We will then determine the best course of action to take depending on the content of this report, including how we involve local people in implementing any recommendations it may contain.”
For the latest information about Malton MIU visit www.scarboroughryedaleccg.nhs.uk Anyone who still has copies of the petition is asked to return them to the Gazette & Herald office in Yorkersgate, Malton.