Emergency Department , York Teaching Hospital
Emergency Department , York Teaching Hospital

York MP, Rachael Maskell, has intervened on behalf of her constituents and staff at York Hospital over the Trust’s proposals to outsource some aspects of care provided by its Emergency Department (potentially including initial assessment, streaming and minor injury care) to Vocare, a wholly owned company by the profit-making company Totally PLC. While previous proposals to embark on this route were put on hold, the Trust are now pursuing this privatisation at a time when the NHS should be fully focused on the pandemic and addressing the significant backlog in appointments.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine clearly states that Emergency Departments should decide who is treated in Emergency Departments, not third party or private organisations.

While doctors and nurses working in the Emergency Department want to ensure that there are good mechanisms in place for patients requiring less intensive input, due to sustaining a minor injury or illness, they are clear that they must have oversight of the full patient journey for all patients attending the emergency department and determine how and where they are seen.

Rachael Maskell MP has written to the Health Secretary, Trust, Commissioners of the service and Vocare, concerning this plan, and today launches a Parliamentary petition so that residents in York can have their say on the proposals.

Rachael Maskell MP, “It has been a very difficult year for the NHS and its staff who have served our community so well throughout this crisis. As the lockdown measures are loosened the Prime Minister warned that infection and hospitalisation rates will rise, and yet the Trust are distracting from the focus needed to get us all through this pandemic by outsourcing some services, including initial assessment and minor injury care to Vocare. This is irresponsible.

“Staff do not want to see these changes go ahead as it will be detrimental to maintaining staff skills and clinical supervision, as has been seen elsewhere where these measures have been introduced. These measures are so unpopular with staff who benefit from treating a range of clinical presentations transferring skills from treating more significant trauma to less serious injuries and illnesses.”

“There is something very special about working for the NHS; we have all sensed that pride this year. I had the privilege of working in the NHS for 20 years, and cherish every moment, so understand why this is so special. NHS staff do not want to work for private companies, and where this has been modelled elsewhere, they leave the service to go back into the NHS elsewhere, leaving recruitment issues.”

“This plan is ill-conceived and is in the interests of no-one except the profit-making company which is to gain from this move. Further a new Government White Paper is seeking to re-organise the NHS, so to embark on a process now, instead of waiting to see the outcome of this process are makes no sense at all. It is time that the NHS managers focused on catching up with the backlog of appointments and treatments that thousands of people in York need, rather than disrupting clinical services at this crucial time.”

You can show your support and sign the online petition here

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