Friarage Hospital consultation launched amid fresh criticism from campaigners

A consultation which NHS bosses say will help shape the future of key services at the Friarage Hospital is underway amid criticism from local campaigners.

NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), in partnership with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has launched a 12-week public consultation.

Officials say the local NHS has faced a number of challenges in recent years, including a shortage of key emergency staff that has affected the trust’s ability to provide safe 24-hour, high quality A&E, anaesthetic overnight cover and critical care services from the hospital.

However, they say that a new vision for the Friarage Hospital would safeguard services and ensure local people continue to have access to high quality and safe urgent and emergency care.

NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG is consulting on this vision, which contains two preferred options for urgent and emergency care provision.

Those options are:-

1. Replacing the emergency department with a 24/7 Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) supported by a responsive front-of-house emergency medical model, dealing with approximately 90 per cent of urgent and emergency presentations (the same model that’s currently in operation as part of the temporary arrangements introduced at the Friarage Hospital in March 2019)

2. Replacing the emergency department with an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) of the same configuration as above, but closed between midnight and 8am

However, members of the Save the Friarage group are unhappy that an option to reinstate the A&E is not one of the options.

The group took the trust to court earlier this year over the downgrading of emergency care at the hospital, but legal proceedings were halted when an out of court settlement was reached.

Holly Wilkinson, from the group, said that in this settlement the trust had pledged to review whether reinstating an A&E at the Northallerton was viable.

She said: “The launch of the consultation proves that they have totally written off the idea of reopening the A&E department.

“I also think the consultation period has been designed to put people off going as the times that have been put out aren’t very accommodating for people who work as the majority of them take place during people’s working hours.

“The online survey may not be reliable either as after it was launched it crashed. Whether this is a coincidence or something else to use as an excuse for ‘poor responses’ remains to be seen.”

Holly has urged the public to take part in the consultation and let the trust know that they want the A&E reinstated.

Simon Cox, director of acute commissioning at NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG said: “The consultation means the CCG can develop an innovative and sustainable model for our hospital – one that is fit for the future

“We need to strike the right balance between providing care closer to home wherever possible, and ensuring patients receive the right specialist care when they need it.

“We would like to know the public’s views on our vision. We would also like people’s views on options for urgent and emergency care which will ensure services can be safely and sustainably provided in the future.”

Adrian Clements, medical director for the Friarage Hospital, added: “We welcome the announcement of the start of the public consultation.

“The doctors, nurses and allied health professionals at the Friarage Hospital have developed a model of care which will give the hospital a safe, long term and sustainable future.

“We have always stated that the model of care requires full and transparent consultation and I would encourage as many people as possible to share their views with us before 6 December.”

The consultation launched on Friday will feature online and face-to-face surveys, public events across Hambleton and Richmondshire which will be well publicised in advance, and focus groups.

NHS bosses say the options for consideration have been developed in partnership with staff, patients, carers, and local organisations.

The public can have their say on the proposals by completing the online survey before 6 December:

Alternatively, they can register to attend one of the public events:

Further information is available at or call 01609 531397.