Public meeting hears reasons for York hospital A&E crisis

“Not a funding issue”

York hospital amb

The health committee last night received an update on problems at A&E.  It can be heard on the video of the meeting after 41 minutes

There was a 6% overall increase in patient presentations over recent weeks

Problems were prompted by an 80% increase in viral conditions with increased risks of pneumonia particularly in elderly people.

The issue was not a funding problem.

The hospital says that it is impossible to provide more beds as there are not enough doctors and nurses to staff additional wards.

The hospital is looking to recruit overseas to fill vacancies.

The 111 service locally is provided by ambulance service in York and is performing well. 

Bed blocking (delayed discharges) in not a major factor in the A&E crisis in York. There are vacant spaces in some local elderly person’s homes. There are staffing shortages in this sector as well.

A trades union representative suggested “upskilling” paramedics to deal with more potential patients at the scene on an incident (although this seemed somewhat irrelevant given the advice provided on the causes of the increased demand)

Councillors rightly expressed concern that any increase in the City’s population as a result of Labours “Big City” Local Plan population growth proposals could only exacerbate the pressures on the hospital.

The issue was considered at yesterdays meeting at the request of Nick Love , the City’s prospective Liberal Democrat MP.

A meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board takes place on 21st January. It is also open to the public

14th January meeting will now get report on A&E from York hospital

Following our story this morning prospective York Central MP Nick Love wrote to the new (Conservative) Chair of the Council’s Health Scrutiny Board suggesting that an urgent item be added to the agenda.

He wanted the meeting to hear first hand about the problems, the causes and the potential remedies.

Credit where it is due, Cllr Paul Doughty acted promptly and has given an assurance that a hospital representative will attend the meeting. 

The meeting takes place on Wednesday, 14th January, 2015 starting at 5.30 pm. The venue is the George Hudson Board Room – 1st Floor West Offices (F045). It is open to the public and residents can register to speak.

Nick in his Email to Cllr Doughty said, 

“Given the ongoing and very public crisis covered extensively in the media regarding A&E at York Hospital, would you please consider putting the matter on the Agenda for the forthcoming Health Scrutiny Committee on 14th January.

 I believe the public interest would be well served by an update on the current situation, including current figures on the “care in community” places available to York Hospital – a lack of which may be exacerbating the problems at York Hospital. As you know – spare beds to enable admissions are created when patients are discharged and care in community places significantly help towards this situation – of which the City of York Council bears partial responsibility.

 It would help if we could know if the City of York Council is meeting its obligations and targets in this respect – so as to be of the most help possible to York Hospital in this time of unprecedented pressure on their services, including A&E.

 Hopefully you could also ensure that a representative from the hospital attends the meeting (I’m sure they would welcome the opportunity) and that they publish a factsheet indicating relative demand levels, comparing this and previous years, together with a root cause analysis of the reasons for the A&E targets not being met.”

York Council set to ignore problems in York hospital A&E department?

Residents and patients, expecting an update on problems at the York Hospital A&E department, will be disappointed when they read the agenda for the Heath Scrutiny committee taking place on 14th January.

With the York hospital performing worse than others in the region in meeting A&E targets recently, residents might have expected the committee – which now has responsibility for providing oversight of NHS issues in the City – to have received an update on the latest position.

York hospital amb

It seems that this will not be the case.

This is all the more surprising  as among the causes identified nationally for the A&E problems are lack of beds.

In turn this is blamed on lack of care in the community places for patients to move to when they can be released from hospital. The York Council bears part of the responsibility for providing such care places.

One report does reveal that the Council is still overspending its Adult Social Care budgets by over £1 million. In the main this is put down to delays in implementing the new care homes project. The Lowfields Care village – as has been reported on many occasions – is running 3 years behind schedule.

The report says, “the performance for delayed transfers of care from hospital is showing a small increase in line with the national trend

Another report comments on the financial position of the York hospital revealing a surplus of £100,000 in 2013/14 (down on the budget expectation which was £2.4 million).

 The hospitals total budget is around £480 million. The hospital is, however, required to make efficiency savings as revealed in its strategic plan.

Another part of the NHS the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group delivered a £2.12 million surplus last year.

Hopefully the chair of this scrutiny committee will respond to public concerns and ensure that an urgent item is added to the committee agenda.

This will allow an update to be given on the current position at the hospital, the reasons for any failures together with proposals which ensure that standards are achieved in the future.

York hospital resources stretched as….

…….Liberal Democrats publish plan to invest an extra £8 billion a year in NHS

LibDems NHS graphic Jan 2015

Media reports are suggesting that unprecedented numbers of people have visiting A & E departments at the York and Scarborough hospitals over the last 3 weeks, leading to unacceptable delays in treatment.

The hospital has not published any figures for patient numbers and waiting times recently and the Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for “Health” has offered no comment.

Responsibility for scrutinising the performance of the health service in York now also rests with the York Council but again no statements have been issued and no special meetings scheduled.

Some are claiming that “bed blocking” – discharges from hospitals delayed through lack of spaces in nursing homes – is partly responsible for the crisis.

The hospital management are right to ask people not to misuse A & E services when other options may address their issues.

But more facts about relative demand levels, together with the publication of up to date performance statistics, would help residents understand the problem rather more than they do now.

Liberal Democrats to increase NHS funding by £8bn by 2020

NHS funding will increased by at least £8bn per year in real terms by 2020.

The Liberal Democrats are the first party to present a plan to meet the financial needs of the NHS as set out by Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England in his Five Year Forward View.


To achieve this boost in funding by 2020/21, Liberal Democrats will do three things:

Smoking campaign

City of York Council is backing a powerful new campaign that has been launched this week to highlight how smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process akin to rotting.

It follows a new expert review that highlights the multiple impacts that toxic ingredients in cigarettes can have on your body.

Whilst many smokers know that smoking causes cancer and harms the lungs and heart, the new report highlights how it also damages:

  • Bones and musclesSmoking causes progressive harm to the musculoskeletal system, and has a negative impact on bone mineral density. Harms include:
  • 25% increased risk of any fracture and a 40% increase in the risk of hip fractures among men
  • Slower healing after injury
  • Increased risk of back and neck pain, leading to a 79% increase in chronic back pain and a 114% increase in disabling lower back pain
  • Significant cause of rheumatoid arthritis and can reduce the impact of treatment
  • Brain – Current smokers are 53% more likely to develop cognitive impairment than non-smokers and 59% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
  • Teeth – Smoking increases the likelihood of tooth loss and decay
  • Eyes – Smoking damages sight by increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 78%-358% and increasing the risk of age-related cataracts

With New Year’s resolutions approaching and two thirds of smokers saying they want to quit, new adverts are being used to graphically illustrate the degeneration that smoking causes.

Do we need more chemists in York?

Consultation on Draft Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA)pharmacy and pharmacist

Any community representative will tell you that the things that people value most are accessible essential services. These include Post Offices, a bus stop, health services and Chemists.

The Council has now launched a consultation on the availability of Chemist (Pharmaceutical) services in York

Their announcement reads:

Every Health and Wellbeing Board in England has a statutory responsibility to publish and keep up-to-date a statement of the needs for pharmaceutical services for the population in its area, referred to as a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA).

The PNA is used to inform decisions about where to site pharmacies (some people call them chemists), opening hours and what services are provided. Safe and effective use of medicines is the most common healthcare intervention; with nearly 80 per cent of adults visiting a pharmacy for a health-related reason at least once a year.

The York Health and Wellbeing Board is in the process of producing a new PNA. People’s views on the availability, suitability and quality of pharmaceutical services are an important part of understanding service needs and requirements.

A copy of the Draft Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment can be found here (please note the maps have been uploaded as separate documents and are listed below)

Appendix 5 – Pharmacy, dispensing GP practice and non-dispensing GP practice locations

Appendix 6 – Non – Controlled locality boundaries (2 maps) –Map 1 and Map 2

The consultation period runs from 25th November 2014 to 26th January 2015 and the consultation survey can be accessed here.

Or email to

If on paper please post to: Public Health, City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York YO1 6GA

Please let us know your views.

Have your say on York’s new Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP3)

Residents and other key stakeholders are today being invited to comment on a new draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP3) for York.

In March 1915 York Corporation Tramways Department was one of the very first operators in the country to use electric buses and to this day, there are still two relics of this pioneering form of transport in the City – the shelters at Clifton Green and Malton Road Corner, which were built as charging points for the buses

In March 1915 York Corporation Tramways Department was one of the very first operators in the country to use electric buses and to this day, there are still two relics of this pioneering form of transport in the City – the shelters at Clifton Green and Malton Road Corner, which were built as charging points for the buses

The consultation runs from 21 November to 2 January 2015 and provides an opportunity to comment on proposals to further reduce emissions and improve air quality in York during the next five years (2015 -2020).

The draft AQAP can be viewed online at .

Paper copies will also be available in all York Explore libraries and at West Offices reception.

Support from the government’s Green Bus Fund enabled York to become the first city in the north to introduce a fleet of electric buses to its Park&Ride service and more recently a Cleaner Vehicle Technology Fund (CVTF) grant allowed Transdev to convert one of its tour buses to a fully electric drive train.

Mental health upgrade in York

Funding to improve mental health services in York has been approved by NHS Property Services.

Cherry Tree House

Cherry Tree House

NHS Property Services and NHS England have been working with local NHS services to address property and facilities issues in York to ensure that all mental health services can be accommodated appropriately within safe, secure and modern environments.

The first of the two schemes proposed will see the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS Tier 4) move out its current base at Lime Trees on Shipton Road into Mill Lodge – a refurbished building that will provide modern and safe mental health facilities for young people.

The second scheme will upgrade Cherry Tree House in the Heworth area of York to provide a purpose built unit for elderly patients currently cared for on Ward 6 at Bootham Park Hospital.


LibDems and mental health

Poisoning from e-cigarettes on the rise

e-cigs-rev-4City of York Council is urging people to take more care with e-cigarettes due to a reported increase in nicotine poisoning.

Results published in Public Health England’s (PHE) annual report on the National Poisons Information Service shows there has been an increase in calls on nicotine poisoning associated with personal vapourisers (e-cigarettes).