Rishi Sunak has welcomed a decision to maintain the 24/7 opening hours of the Friarage Hospital’s urgent treatment centre.
The decision, taken by local health chiefs today (Thursday, April 30), follows a consultation exercise on the operation of emergency services at the Northallerton hospital.
The NHS consultation was launched last year and examined two options – maintaining the current 24/7 opening hours and reduced hours with the unit closed between midnight and 8am.
The reduced hours option was considered because of the lower numbers using the unit overnight.
In his submission to the consultation Mr Sunak had argued forcibly for maintaining the status quo.
He said the urgent treatment centre was performing well and his constituents deserved the reassurance of a 24/7 service given the travelling distances many faced getting to alternative emergency and urgent care services.
Welcoming the decision of the North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) governing body, Mr Sunak said: “My constituents will find this decision hugely reassuring. There has been uncertainty over the services offered at the hospital and this decision will help to allay the fears of many who told me how greatly they value what is offered at the Friarage.
“The knowledge that the majority of urgent care needs will still be met at our much-loved local hospital 24 hours a day seven days a week is very important.”
Mr Sunak said he was grateful that the CCG had listened to and accepted the argument he and others made in the consultation process about the travelling distances many constituents would have faced in the small hours of the night if the reduced hours option had been selected.
He added that he was looking forward to hearing further about hospital chiefs’ plans to expand services at the hospital once the current challenge of coping with the Covid-19 epidemic was overcome.
Mr Sunak praised the “incredible work” of staff at the Friarage Hospital which was playing an invaluable support role to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough during the coronavirus emergency.