York & North Yorkshire

Friarage hospital campaigners to continue fight

Friarage Hospital, Northallerton Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The hospital's A&E department was "temporarily" closed in March due to staff shortages

Campaigners fighting a decision to downgrade a hospital's A&E unit insist they will continue to fight the plans.

Northallerton's Friarage Hospital's A&E department was "temporarily" closed in March due to staff shortages.

The Save Friarage Hospital group was granted permission to challenge that in the High Court on 11 June.

However, the Trust which runs the hospital has urged campaigners to drop their legal fight as it says services have improved since the closure.

The South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's medical director, Dr Adrian Clements, told North Yorkshire County Council's scrutiny of health committee, the changes introduced in March had not affected safety and were benefitting patients .

"The change has actually improved some of our patient pathways, bringing in consultants into the patient pathway as early as possible clearly helps care," he said.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he urged campaigners to drop their battle as it was costing an "awful lot of money".

The campaign group said its decision to challenge the closure was due to "public outrage" at the lack of consultation by the Trust.

In a statement it said: "Since the South Tees Trust took over the hospital in 2002, the people of Northallerton and the wider area have faced 17 years of cuts to the Friarage Hospital.

"Enough is enough - we will continue to fight for our services, our hospital and ultimately our lives."

No date has been fixed for the group's legal challenge to be heard by the High Court.

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