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‘Give Wharfedale Hospital to the people’
8:50am Thursday 12th July 2012 in Otley
Health chiefs have been urged to hand over Wharfedale Hospital to be run “by the people, for the people”, in a public challenge thrown down by a newly-elected councillor.
Councillor Sandy Lay is calling for the NHS to consider relinquishing control of the hospital, in Otley, so it can be run as a social enterprise following a string of “contentious decisions”, including closing the last remaining inpatient ward.
He accused Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust of turning its back on “old, infirm and vulnerable” people by scaling down and centralising services in his maiden speech at yesterday's full meeting of Leeds City Council.
Coun Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: “I am calling on Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to seriously explore relinquishing Wharfedale Hospital and handing it over to the community in the form of a social enterprise.
“The Trust has worked hard to find services suitable for the hospital’s changed role following its reopening in 2005 as a community facility and service activity is increasing, but they have also made contentious decisions, the most recent being the closure of the last remaining inpatient ward last summer.
“As a community we watched helplessly as the Trust asked for the support of the Primary Care Trust, who appeared to turn their backs on our old, infirm and vulnerable whilst the Trust was allowed to centralise inpatient older people’s services at St James’s. These decisions have had a profound effect on my community.”
He said people were “fed- up” of waiting to see where the axe would next fall.
He added: “I am therefore challenging my community to run the hospital themselves and asking the wider health and social care sector to support us whilst we explore this.”